Dean Henderson is reportedly keen to quit Manchester United, on loan or permanently, and with several clubs linked to him, now is the time to force his way out of Old Trafford.
Henderson is 24 now, and with modern goalkeepers entering their prime earlier these days, he does not have the luxury of time. If he spends much more time on the sidelines then other, younger players will edge ahead of him in the race for the No. 1 spot for England, or another team. Unlike other positions, a goalkeeper earns a kind of tenure in their spot - it is seen as much more of a gamble to switch players in between the sticks than it is for outfield players. That means that Gareth Southgate will need overwhelming evidence to make a change, and the same goes for his club manager.
As for United, that no longer seems possible. David De Gea may not have returned to his very best form, but he has shown enough of his abilities to earn at least the rest of the season in the first team. With a contract lasting until 2023, and wages north of £300,000 a week, United almost could not afford for him to fail. At 31, it would be handy to let him see out his contract without having to give him a payoff worth tens of millions of pounds to make room for Henderson.
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Henderson, however, earns less than half of the Spaniard’s wages and there is no shortage of suitors. Tottenham, Newcastle and Ajax are believed to be interested, and even the Magpies offer him a better way to spend the next six months. The North East is a better place to be than the bench. If United are given the chance to sell him and free up some wages, then it may help Ralf Rangnick.
Rangnick has been given a month in charge of the club and has rattled through his options. He has seen most of the players at his disposal, and he must know that there are hardly any players he is able to rely on. With the money tap capriciously turned on and off at United by the Glazers, there can be no guarantee there will be much to spend in January. You can make a strong case that United need at least one new player at left-back, right-back, centre-back and midfield. Sacrificing Henderson to restock at least one of those areas must seem tempting for the German if someone comes through with an offer.
For Henderson, Jordan Pickford’s prominence must be baffling, but Aaron Ramsdale should worry him. Arsenal have an almost perfect combination of a porous defence to keep him focused and active, but with a team that is generally successful. That should keep him motivated and content, conducive to a rapid improvement at a year younger than Henderson. United’s back-up can't allow himself to remain stagnant. The transfer window will open in a couple of days, and Henderson has learned he can't trust that his ability is going to be enough to force his way into the first team. The time has come for him to find a new club, and after years of indecision, United may now feel the same way.
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