Sparta Prague were confident of bringing Matej Kovar back to the Czech Republic until Manchester United slapped a £6 million price-tag on the Premier League youngster.

Last week, the BBC reported that Matej Kovar had been left out of Manchester United’s pre-season tour of the USA. The reason? Well, United supposedly expected their highly-rated goalkeeper to go out on loan again after an impressive spell at Sparta Prague in 2022/23.

So when Kovar penned an emotional message to Sparta via Instagram on Wednesday – confirming that he would not be retuning after all – it was clear that something had changed.

Manchester United v BSC Young Boys: Group F - UEFA Champions League
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Man United block Matej Kovar return to Sparta Prague

According to Czech publication iSport, Sparta were initially convinced that Kovar – who kept eight clean sheets en route to the Fortuna Liga title last season – would be back for another spell at the Epet Arena.

At least, that was until they learned that Manchester United were looking to sell Kovar, rather than send him out on loan again. United, iSport add, are asking £6 million. That is more than twice as much as Sparta would be able – or willing – to offer.

Hence, the subsequent arrival of Peter Vindahl from AZ Alkmaar instead on Tuesday.

Vindahl joins on loan from the Eredivisie outfit; his signing a reflection of the fact that Kovar had moved out of Sparta’s reach. Much to the disappointment of sporting director Tomasz Rosicky.

A big future ahead perhaps

“Of course, we would be very happy if Matej was still here with us,” the former Arsenal ace said earlier this month. “But everything has its limits, and we cannot wait forever.

“If Matej doesn’t come, another goalkeeper will sign.”

With Vindahl through the door, Rosicky’s prophecy has now come true.

What the future holds for Kovar, meanwhile, remains to be seen. So impressive with the ball at his feet during Man United’s pre-season victories over Leeds and Lyon, do not rule out the prospect of Kovar being promoted to ‘number two’ behind Andre Onana at Old Trafford.

Especially after Zion Suzuki reportedly turned down the chance to join Erik ten Hag’s side this summer (Sponichi).

“It’s a good win to be honest,” Kovar said after that 1-0 Lyon triumph.

“We won two games in a row which is always good. We got a clean sheet too, which is good. But I think, especially in the second half, we played some brilliant football.

“And I believe there is also a lot of room for improvement.”

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