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Manchester United goalie Dean Henderson is the main GK target

David De Gea won’t surrender the no. 1 GK role. It’s time for Dean to move on.

Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

We’re barely past the midpoint of May and the transfer rumors are already overflowing the corners of Newcastle upon Tyne. Such is this when you have a brand new board having recently acquired the club and willing to spend whatever amounts it takes to put Magpies among the European football elite.

Even though this story has been developing for a long time now, The Mirror is doubling down on the reported whispers speaking of a potential bid for Dean Henderson coming from Tyneside. Newcastle had already been linked to the Manchester United outcast and, if I’m honest with you, this is another one of those rumors that at least make some sense compared to the nonsense going around St James’ Park these days.

Henderson was one of Newcastle’s early targets back in January when Eddie Howe declared his interest in the goalie to strengthen the Black and White with the goal of avoiding relegation still in mind. Of course, Manchester United didn’t budge—as they did by handcuffing Jesse Lingard back then too—and Henderson stayed a Mancunian... while gracing Old Trafford’s pitch—or away ones, for that matter—all of no times at all. That’s correct. Henderson has yet to play a single Premier League minute for Man. United this season, as ridiculous as that sounds, while he’s appeared in a total of three senior-team games through the entire 2021-22 campaign (one each in the Champions League, the EFL Cup, and the FA Cup). The total minutes played: 177, not even two full games. Yikes.

If you remember, Henderson was part of the English national squad named to the EURO 2020 but he had to withdraw one game into the tournament because of an injury sustained in mid-June, getting replaced by Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale. Now, of course, you might think that would have made sense even without Henderson’s injury because, well, Dean appeared in 13 games last season compared to Ramsdale’s 38, Jordan Pickford’s 31, and Sam Johnstone’s 37. More than a hit on Henderson, that’s actually a thing to praise him for—being able to get a call for a top-flight tournament even on such a small sample of playing time.

Henderson knows there is a World Cup coming this winter. He knows he has barely played at all this season. He knows that won’t change if he stays in Manchester whether that is under Ralf Rangnick, Erik ten Hag, or Jesus Christ himself. Alas: the trade rumors and possible trade request.

While Henderson is under a four-year deal expiring in 2025, his current situation in terms of his role is just killing all of his upside and chances at, simply put, anything and everything. Henderson should be a reasonable transfer target for Newcastle because Man. Utd. is expected to demand around £20M for the goalie while Henderson is currently earning £100K weekly. He shouldn’t be asking for much more than that if he completes any move.

There is just not a chance David De Gea losses his no. 1 GK under ten Hag. It won’t happen. The Mirror is reporting that Henderson will ask for that no. 1 role or else he’ll seek a transfer away from Manchester.

With Martin Dubravka entering his age-34 season and no clear-cut serviceable goalie waiting on the wings, Henderson would make a lot of sense for Newcastle to chase as a summer-window addition. Henderson could step right into the starting goalie role for Eddie Howe relegating Dubravka to a reserve role in which he could be more valuable—starting in both the EFL and FA Cups. Dubby has been fantastic and even though he’s in the final part of his career he’s aging gracefully and still performing to fantastic levels of play.

Manchester United v Middlesbrough: The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

Looking at 2020-21 stats (when Henderson actually played something—13 games, 12 starts in the Premier League), the United keeper allowed just 0.96 GA90 sandwiched between Ederson, Edouard Mendy, and Alisson. His Save% reached 76%, the third-best mark among keepers with more than 4 games played and only behind Emiliano Martinez and Nick Pope.

Dean Henderson played to his expected level last year, allowing 12 goals against 12.3 Post-Shot Expected Goals (+0.02 saves per 90 minutes). He was also one of the most active keepers in performing defensive actions outside of the penalty area (1.12 per 90 minutes, the third-most among goalies to feature steadily for their teams).

Henderson kept Manchester United in the run for the title, helping the Red Devils finish the season in second place 12 points behind champions Manchester City and five ahead of third-place Liverpool.