Sparta Prague have not given up hope of bringing Matej Kovar back to the Czech capital from Premier League giants Manchester United this summer?

How much can Manchester United fans really read into Wednesday’s 2-0 pre-season victory over Leeds in Oslo?

Are Amad Diallo, Hannibal Mejbri, Alvaro Fernandez and the masterful Kobbie Mainoo ready for a place in Erik ten Hag’s plans? Is Joe Hugill, scorer of United’s second goal in Norway, a candidate to solve the club’s ‘number nine’ problem?

Can Matej Kovar make the step up to second-choice behind Andre Onana, and prove that United do not need to pay the £5 million required for Urawa Red Diamond’s Ederson-idolising Japan international Zion Suzuki?

Manchester United v BSC Young Boys: Group F - UEFA Champions League
Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Matej Kovar impresses in pre-season

Kovar, capped 11 times by the Czech Republic at U21 level, has now played over 60 games during loan spells away from Old Trafford. He shone as Sparta Prague won the Czech title in 2022/23, keeping the second-most clean sheets in the competition with eight.

So no wonder Sparta would welcome him back with open arms.

“Yes, Matej’s return is still in play. Of course, we would be very happy if Matej was still here with us,” explains Sparta’s sporting director, the former Arsenal playmaker Tomasz Rosicky.

“But everything has its limits, and we cannot wait forever. If Matej doesn’t come, another goalkeeper will sign.”

Manchester United need at least one new goalkeeper

While Kovar didn’t have many saves to make in the second half against Leeds, his distribution certainly caught the eye.

Any goalkeeper in a Ten Hag team must be capable of operating almost as an extra outfield player. A fact emphasised by United’s pursuit of Onana as David de Gea’s replacement, and their interest in the supremely-technical Suzuki.

And Kovar certainly seems comfortable with the ball at his feet; playing a part in Hugill’s clincher with a pinpoint driven pass into the centre of the park.

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