Dean Henderson’s future at Manchester United has come under repeated speculation in recent weeks, with the goalkeeper linked with a move away from Old Trafford.
The Red Devils’ interim manager Ralf Rangnick also confirmed the player has requested to leave, fueling reports he could join a new club this month.
We’ve rounded up all the latest news surrounding the in-demand stopper.
What’s been reported?
Speaking after United’s 1-0 win over Aston Villa on Monday night, Rangnick confirmed Henderson would like to move on, with the No.26 not in the Red Devils’ matchday squad on for the game.
“A couple of weeks ago he asked me [if he could leave] but I told him I’d rather have him stay until the end of the season,” the German told talkSPORT. “We are very happy with our goalkeepers but if it’s up to me I wouldn’t want him to leave.
However, talkSPORT also report that Newcastle United are interested in bringing the player to St James’ Park, should he be allowed to leave the Red Devils.
Elsewhere, the Manchester Evening News claimed ahead of January that Henderson is a target for Ajax, with Tottenham Hotspur also said to be monitoring the situation given Hugo Lloris’s contract is set to expire in the summer.
But on Tuesday morning Southampton were favourites to sign the United youth product, as per the Southern Daily Echo.
What’s gone wrong for Henderson this season?
It’s worth remembering Henderson ended last season as United’s first-choice keeper, with the 24-year-old playing in all but two of the team’s last 12 league games of 2020/21, while David De Gea had been starting in the cup competitions.
But a long absence due to Covid-19 impacted his pre-season preparations and meant De Gea started the new term as the club’s No.1. From there, the Spaniard has thrived and he’s arguably been United’s best player of the season so far.
As a result, it’s meant Henderson has had no real opportunity to regain his place and he’s been limited to just two senior appearances, both of which came in cup competitions.
Henderson has also lost his place in the England squad, with the United stopper a regular feature of Gareth Southgate’s roster across 2019 and 2020. However, he’s now failed to be included in any of the last three England squads.
How many other goalkeepers do United have?
Goalkeeping is not an area where United are short of options. De Gea is the undoubted No.1, with Henderson seen as his deputy.
But there is also the experienced Tom Heaton, who made his debut for the club last month, as well as Lee Grant, with the former Stoke City stopper seen as fourth choice.
It means United could allow Henderson to leave the club and still have a surplus of options between the sticks.
Our view: United must learn from mistakes
In recent years, United have deployed a rather unusual policy of stockpiling players without offering them any real chance of playing.
Jesse Lingard could have been sold for a significant fee in the summer, but now is expected to leave the Red Devils for free at the end of the season.
Donny van de Beek cost United £35m last summer and has barely featured, while the likes of Eric Bailly, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial are among those first-team stars who have struggled for minutes this term.
It’s a policy that evidently isn’t working, with widespread reports that there’s a split in the United dressing room and several stars would like to leave in January or next summer.
Manchester City have already shown this window that there’s merit in selling first-team players for the right price, with Ferran Torres moving to Barcelona.
Last summer, Chelsea allowed the high-rated youth graduates Fikayo Tomori, Marc Guehi and Tammy Abraham to depart, as well Kurt Zouma.
Knowing when to sell players is almost as important as a club’s recruitment, and it’s something United have repeatedly got wrong in recent years.
Cashing in on Henderson makes complete sense for Rangnick if the club don’t see him as a long-term first-choice keeper, and Heaton represents an excellent back-up option if the ex-Sheffield United loanee were to depart.