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Tom Heaton’s return foreshadows potential Summer of change in Manchester United’s goalkeeper room

With questions to answer at no. 1, Ole adds another safety net to a goalkeeper room on the verge of significant change

Everton v Aston Villa - Premier League Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Manchester United have agreed to a deal with free agent goalkeeper Tom Heaton, a former United Youth Academy product, to complete a return to Old Trafford for the veteran keeper. The contract will reportedly keep Heaton at the club until Summer 2023, with an option to extend for a further season.

This signing comes with the end of Lee Grant’s contract in sight, as well as serious doubt over the future of Sergio Romero at the club. Romero’s contract expires in June, and given the apparent fall out between him and Solskjaer there is no indication he will extend.

In addition to uncertainty over the backup situation, there is an ongoing battle for the no. 1 spot. Dean Henderson impressed in his run in charge in David De Gea’s absence, though he did have a few hiccups. De Gea has shown signs of decline in the last 3 seasons, but is still very capable of putting in classic performances.

De Gea’s contract however is a significant weight on the club’s budget, as the highest paid goalkeeper in the world. If he is to move to another club this summer it will likely take a buyout by United, which is a major expense in a summer in which they intend to continue a rebuild with marquee transfers. The decision to keep one and move the other will need to come soon, before both are unsettled by the other’s presence and to free up wages for new arrivals and key extensions.

Ole has a lot of questions at no. 1 to address, but Heaton’s arrival brings an experienced back up in behind whoever does take the full time job between the posts.