Manchester United have confirmed the arrival of Tom Heaton.
Heaton, 35, returns to the club 11 years after leaving to join Cardiff, having never made a senior appearance.
The England international came through the ranks at Old Trafford under Sir Alex Ferguson.
And he is back where it all began, having signed a two-year contract, with the option for an additional one.
Straight after his arrival was confirmed, he took to Instagram to post a short message to United fans.
‘No place like home’ sums it up neatly for the goalkeeper who joined after the expiry of his Aston Villa contract.
Heaton had rotten luck at Villa Park. He suffered a serious injury on New Year’s Day of 2020 and didn’t play for them after that.
He’s back fit now though, and will bring his professional and experience to the United goalkeeping ranks.
United have released two goalkeepers this summer – Sergio Romero and Joel Pereira.
Heaton’s arrival bolsters those ranks and he could become Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s second-choice stopper if he makes a decision between Dean Henderson and David de Gea.
His arrival follows the announcement yesterday that United have an agreement in principle to sign Jadon Sancho.
Heaton’s signing won’t generate the same excitement, but it’s a sensible, low-risk move to bring back someone who knows the club inside out.
Tom Heaton: Returning Red
- Heaton was a United academy star
Heaton came through United’s academy and got to train with first team stars like Wayne Rooney. He made United’s bench in the Premier League but never quite made a first team appearance.
- Loans led to exit
Heaton went out on loan moves to Swindon, Royal Antwerp, Cardiff, QPR, Rochdale, and Wycombe. This gave him a taste to leave the club on a free and pursue first team football.
- Working his way to the Premier League
Heaton joined Cardiff before being snapped up by Bristol City and then Burnley. He helped them win promotion in 2013/14 to reach the Premier League.
- United nemesis and England call
Heaton became a mainstay for Burnley in the top flight, and memorably shut out Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s United in 2016. His form at Turf Moor earned him a call to the England squad where he won three caps.
- £8 million move to Villa
Aston Villa looked to Heaton to solve their goalkeeping crisis. His stint was ruined by an ACL injury in his first season. By time he returned to fitness he was used only as a back-up.
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