Manchester United have formally announced the first signing of their summer transfer window.
And while Tom Heaton’s arrival on a two-year contract isn’t the kind of move to get the pulses racing, it could still have ramifications within Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad.
Solskjaer has made the decision to bring Heaton back to Old Trafford eleven years after he went in search of first-team football.
In 2021, the 35-year-old has very different ambitions, likely to be more content to sit on the United bench than he was all those years ago.
But in his official unveiling, the former Aston Villa stopper has hinted that he isn’t returning simply to make up the numbers.
“I’m just seeing it as a fantastic opportunity as I still feel I’ve got an awful lot to give and I’ve got the bit between my teeth,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running. I feel in great shape and I’m looking forward to coming in to compete with the other goalkeepers.”
Heaton’s arrival means Solskjaer is now overloaded in the goalkeeping department.
Even before his arrival, the United boss admitted that the unusual situation in between the sticks would need to be resolved.
David de Gea and Dean Henderson effectively shared the responsibility of being No.1, with the Spaniard starting the season in that position, before the latter usurped him in the closing months.
Henderson finds himself in a similar position to the one Heaton did more than a decade ago. After two years with Sheffield United, the England international now believes he is ready to become the undisputed first-choice.
But in De Gea, Henderson will need to oust a player that has held the position ever since his arrival from Atletico Madrid.
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De Gea started United’s final game of last season, with his missed penalty the last kick of the Europa League final defeat to Villarreal.
That doesn’t mean he will continue as the starter next term and according to ESPN, De Gea is still unsure of Solskjaer’s final decision and is planning to hold talks upon his return to England after Euro 2020.
Those talks with Solskjaer will look to establish what his role will look like in the coming seasons.
The report adds that if Henderson is named as the starter, De Gea will look to secure a move away, with his preference being on remaining at the highest level.
Of course, should he get his wish to remain as Solskjaer’s starter, Henderson would be the one likely to push for a move with a number of suitors monitoring his situation.
Lee Grant’s contract extension may be an afterthought in many supporter’s minds but the idea of United keeping hold of four keepers next term is highly, highly unlikely.
A transfer for both De Gea and Henderson will be logistically difficult due to their high salaries, but four into one doesn’t go.