What does Lee Grant's extension mean for United's many goalkeepers?
Consider us a little surprised Lee Grant has signed a contract extension with Manchester United.
It’s nothing against Grant, who fulfils his role well with minimum fuss, as should be expected from a third choice goalkeeper. He’s only ever played two games for United, just one as a starter.
But at 37-years-old, we had assumed Grant would be released this summer when his current deal was set to expire.
Grant has signed a new one-year deal to take him up to the end of the 2020/21 season, the club confirmed.
What does it mean for the rest?
Beyond first choice goalkeeper David de Gea, United have Sergio Romero.
Dean Henderson is impressing out on loan at Sheffield United, and is being tipped by many to take over from De Gea.
There is also Joel Pereira, on loan at Hearts, and Kieran O’Hara at Burton Albion.
Nathan Bishop has just been signed from Southend and has been filling in as third choice with Grant out injured at present.
Under-23s star Matej Kovar trained with the first team this week, while Paul Woolston signed a contract extension a week ago.
Behind them are youngsters Jacob Carney, Alex Fojitcek, and Youth Cup star Ondrej Mastny.
It’s pretty crowded. One of the reasons we had expected Grant to be released was to clear the path for some of this young talent.
We can only guess at this stage, but we would expect Pereira and O’Hara to be sold this summer.
Kovar looks like he needs to go out on loan, and Nathan Bishop can then take over as under-23s number one.
It’s a year-by-year situation, and this news may hint at Dean Henderson going out on loan for another season to Sheffield United, with a view to taking over in 2021 from De Gea.
One possibility is that this is the summer Romero is moved on, which could give United reason to keep Grant around.
Grant may also be being prepared for a possible coaching role at Manchester United. He is already halfway through his badges.
He told the club website: “I’m still working hard at the coaching and putting the final touches to my ‘A’ licence now.
“It’s a good thing being at such a fantastic club that is giving me an opportunity to do that as well, by working with some of the younger players, is something I very much appreciate. I will look to continue that next year as well.”
It’s certainly a clue for the future, one which doesn’t make total sense now, but will at the end of the summer. All options with De Gea and Henderson are still on the table.
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