Erik ten Hag changes goalkeeper plan and identifies long-term David de Gea successor


    David de Gea's long-term future at Manchester United is in fresh doubt
    David de Gea’s long-term future at Manchester United is in fresh doubt (Picture: Getty)

    Erik ten Hag has changed his transfer plans after just one game of the new season and wants to sign a goalkeeper capable of challenging David de Gea.

    The Spain international went some way to rebuilding his reputation last season and reestablished himself as the club’s undisputed No.1 after he was briefly challenged and usurped by Dean Henderson.

    United conceded a club record 53 Premier League goals last term but De Gea prevented that total from spiraling towards a figure that would have bordered on parody.

    The 31-year-old started this season with his status enhanced after Dean Henderson left for Nottingham Forest on loan having appeared to have severed his ties with United following a scathing interview.

    De Gea, however, appears ill-suited to the type of football Ten Hag wants to employ, one which relies upon his goalkeeper being comfortable with the ball at his feet.

    Illan Meslier has admirers as Manchester United
    Illan Meslier has admirers as Manchester United (Picture: Getty)

    Ten Hag tore a strip off De Gea during a pre-season friendly earlier this summer when he booted the ball up the pitch, rather than attempt a high-risk pass to full-back Tyrell Malacia.

    De again looked uncomfortable during last Sunday’s defeat against Brighton at Old Trafford, although he was far from the only United player appear out of synch with their manager’s requirements.

    According to The Athletic, United had budgeted for around £35,000-a-week in wages to sign a third choice goalkeeper this season with Ten Hag happy to rely on the experienced Tom Heaton to act as cover for De Gea.

    That plan has been shelved, however, and United will offer Ten Hag more funds to find a more suitable back-up with the likes of Watford’s Daniel Bachmann as well as Newcastle duo Martin Dubravka and Karl Darlow under consideration.

    United are said to view Leeds United’s Ilan Meslier as the ideal long-term replacement for De Gea but accept he is unattainable this summer.

    The 22-year-old has already made 74 appearances for Leeds since joining from Lorient two years ago and, having been schooled by Marcelo Bielsa, would have little trouble adjusting to Ten Hag’s style.

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