Manchester United’s goalkeeper search seems to be taking them far and wide. With David de Gea’s contract already expired, Dean Henderson desperate for permanent transfer, and Tom Heaton attracting interest from other Premier League clubs, that is hardly surprising.
A bid for Andre Onana, the top target of Erik ten Hag, has been rejected by Inter Milan, but talks are expected to continue.
But even if the Cameroonian shot stopper is signed, The Red Devils will likely find themselves still needing numbers between the sticks, with quantity currently just as stretched as quality.
Yesterday, The Peoples Person reported on possible bids for Feyenoord goalkeeper Justin Bijlow, a keeper Ten Hag knows well from his time in the Eredivisie. Across the continent, claims of a bid for Fenerbahce’s Altay Bayındır also emerged.
Now, across the world, there is an assertion that Man United are prepared to break the J-League sales record by bringing Zion Suzuki to Old Trafford.
The report comes from Sponichi Sport, the oldest sports daily in Japan, and claims that an “imminent” transfer awaits for a 20-year-old United have been following since 2017.
The current record sale from the J-League to a foreign club currently stands at the £4.5m Celtic paid two years ago for last season’s Scottish Premier League top scorer Kyogo Furuhashi.
Sponichi claim that United will pay £5m for Suzuki, despite the player having made just eight league appearances in his career to date.
That would be a clear sign that – if United are indeed keen on Suzuki – they would be paying for potential rather than immediate impact.
Last season, signing the Japan youth international of Ghanaian descent would likely have been impossible, given the post-Brexit ruling that prohibited clubs from registering players from abroad who failed to reach a certain points threshold set by the Governing Body Endorsement. A relaxation of the rules from this summer allows Premier League clubs to bring in up to four players who fail to meet the GBE criteria.
Using one of those ‘slots’ on a promising young goalkeeper would not impact Man United’s transfer strategy in any meaningful way this summer, given that their business will likely be focused on established internationals.
It would hardly be a surprise to see Premier League clubs keeping a closer watch on Japan-based players off the back of Karou Mitoma’ success at Brighton and Hove Albion last season. The Seagulls had to wait two years before they were able to register him for action. With that impediment