Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson has signed a new six-year contract with the club – and will go head-to-head with David de Gea next season for the number one jersey at Old Trafford.
The deal, confirmed on Wednesday, will see the 23-year old earning up to £120,000 a week – making him one of the best paid goalkeepers in world football.
Henderson, who has been named in the latest England squad, is not expected to go out on loan for another spell away from Old Trafford – despite up to seven Premier League teams being keen to borrow him – and will be allowed to battle for the ‘keepers’ spot with his Spanish team-mate.
“The goalkeeping department at United is excellent; there are three top-level goalkeepers who have achieved so much in the game and I look forward to working with the group,” Henderson said.
“The faith that the manager and the club have shown in me with this contract means a lot to me and will continue my progression as a goalkeeper.
“I’ll be giving everything to improve every day so that I can play as many games as possible for this great club. Now I am looking forward to joining up with the England squad and then preparing for the season ahead.”
Henderson spent the past two campaigns on loan at Sheffield United, helping the Blades to promotion to the Premier League in 2019, before an impressive debut top-flight campaign last season.
Calls for Henderson, who only signed his previous deal last summer, to challenge De Gea have grown after the Spaniard received criticism for a number of errors during the 2019-20 season.
“We are delighted that Dean has signed his new contract,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said. “He had another great season at Sheffield United, where he gained a lot of experience and grew both as a player and a person.
“Dean is a fantastic young ‘keeper with the attitude and work-rate to keep improving every day.
“We are in a strong position within the goalkeeping department and that gives us the competition for places that we are looking for in the squad.”
Sheffield United re-signed Bournemouth goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale as Henderson’s replacement on a four-year contract worth up to £18.5m, three-and-a-half years after first selling him to the Cherries.
Analysis: United putting young talent first
Sky Sports’ James Cooper:
“It was nice to break the news first for this bumper deal for Dean Henderson that makes him one of the most well-paid goalkeepers in the Premier League on about £120,000-a-week. It’s a deal that Manchester United have done to keep him here for five years, plus the option of another year.
“The 23-year-old has come through the academy at Manchester United and spent a couple of seasons on loan at Sheffield United, playing almost 40 games for them last season. He’s come into the firing line at Old Trafford to be a competitor for David de Gea.
“Our information is that he won’t be allowed out on loan next season. United and the goalkeeper himself see his development being best at the club, going head-to-head with David de Gea.
“It’s really interesting and the club’s first big piece of transfer business this summer. It’s going to be a real gunfight for the number one spot. It’s a fantastic deal for him and a real show from United that they are putting their young talent first. Both Henderson and De Gea will be hoping to go to the European Championship next summer with their respective nations. His career at Manchester United now starts properly with no more loans for him.”
Roy Keane was left angered by Manchester United’s defending during June’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham and, in particular, Harry Maguire’s positioning and De Gea’s tame attempt to keep out Steven Bergwijn’s effort.
“I’m shocked at that goal,” the former United captain said on Sky Sports. “I’ve watched a lot of football over the years, but to give that away, I’m fuming.
“This is an established international goalkeeper. I’m flabbergasted. There’s got to be something going on at half-time. If I was Ole, make some changes, get some lads off the pitch, some of them are going through the motions at the moment.
“I can’t believe (Luke) Shaw heads the ball up and then runs forward, I’m staggered at Maguire, staggered that an international player can get done like this, and I’m sick to death of this goalkeeper.
“Spurs have been okay, they’ve been compact. But Maguire and De Gea, I wouldn’t let them on the bus after the match, let them get a taxi back to Manchester.”
Henderson is England and United’s future No 1 – Solskjaer
Speaking in June before Manchester United’s first Premier League fixture of Project Restart against Tottenham, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he expects Henderson will become both England and United’s future No 1 goalkeeper.
“Dean has made some great choices over the years and has developed fantastically,” said Solskjaer. “We’re looking at that in terms of where he’s going to be next season, but as yet that has not been decided.
“This season has proved a great experience for him, he’s done himself some favours with his performances, and proved he will be England’s No 1 and Man United’s No 1 at some point.”
Sky Sports’ Gary Neville urged Solskjaer back in June to be “ruthless” when deciding between De Gea and Henderson.
“De Gea has been good enough. I was nervous about him in his first year or two at Manchester United but then he did prove to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world for four or five years.
“In the last 18 months he’s been riddled with mistakes and only Solskjaer can make that decision over the goalkeeper.
“What I would say about that decision is that Solskjaer has to be decisive and ruthless with that decision, he’s got to think about himself and the club. If he thinks De Gea is going to return to the level he was at before, stick with him.
“De Gea hasn’t put a foot wrong in [United’s] last two matches. Solskjaer has still got that decision in his hands, but he’s at least got through that until the end of the season.”
Bosnich: Henderson staking his claim
De Gea is expected to remain as Manchester United’s first-choice goalkeeper for now but Henderson has certainly put pressure on the Spaniard, according to Bosnich.
“Obviously when you start making mistakes as he has done in the last six to 12 months people start opening their eyes and because it has happened in certain situations which have cost Manchester United, for example the FA Cup semi-final, people start asking questions,” Bosnich said.
“Also having someone like Dean Henderson playing so well at Sheffield United, and being on Manchester United’s books, it is only natural that people are going to ask if he is up to it.”
The summer transfer window will run for 10 weeks from July 27 and close at 11pm on October 5.
A domestic-only window for trades between the Premier League and EFL then runs from October 5 and closes on Friday October 16 at 5pm. Follow all the news and analysis on Sky Sports News and across Sky Sports‘ digital platforms, including with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog
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