Soccer

Sancho and Varane deals are ‘exciting’ but Manchester United must sort ‘goalkeeping situation’, warns Neville

The former Old Trafford favourite wants Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to make a firm decision on who his goalkeeper will be for the 2021-22 season

Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane deals are “exciting” but Manchester United must now sort out their “goalkeeping situation”, Gary Neville has warned.

Sancho completed his £73 million ($104m) switch to Old Trafford from Borussia Dortmund last month, bringing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s well-documented pursuit of the winger to an end.

United have also moved to bolster their options at the back with a deal now in place for Real Madrid star Raphael Varane, but Neville believes there is a more pressing issue in the squad that has yet to be addressed. 

What has been said?

The Red Devils legend has no doubt Sancho and Varane will bring a lot to the table, but now wants Solskjaer to make a final decision on who will be the club’s No 1 goalkeeper between Dean Henderson and David de Gea.

“I think Varane is really exciting. Sancho’s exciting but it was almost inevitable that was going to happen,” Neville told Sky Sports. “They needed to fill that right-wing spot. It’s been a bit of a problem for the last year or two. I think demonstrating patience and getting him, to be fair, was a bit more measured.

“I think Ole has brought that to the club, they’re not getting players for the sake of it. Varane is exciting and I think last season, every United fan, every commentator, pundit, fan and analyst watched United and said, “They need a partner for Harry Maguire”, and they’ve got one.

“If they can stay fit together, and obviously the two full-backs as well who have got great energy, both of them are great defenders – one of them is great going forward and Aaron Wan-Bissaka is definitely improving.

“I think just sort the goalkeeping situation out, settle that down, decide who is going to be number one and United are in a good position defensively and Sancho can hopefully bring that balance that’s needed in attack.”

Will Henderson get the nod over De Gea?

De Gea has been United’s first-choice shot-stopper since joining the club from Atletico Madrid in 2011, but has struggled for form since Solskjaer’s appointment two years ago.

Henderson staked his claim for a regular role between the sticks after returning from a loan spell at Sheffield United last summer, however the England international is now a doubt for the start of the new season after contracting Covid-19.

It had been suggested that De Gea was set to lose his place to Henderson, having produced a poor display in his last outing for United as they lost to Villarreal in the Europa League final, but Solskjaer may have no choice but to stick with the Spaniard in their Premier League opener against Leeds on August 14.

Tom Heaton is also an option for the Norwegian head coach, with the 35-year-old having returned to Old Trafford for a second spell after leaving Aston Villa in June.

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