Manchester United are only prepared to activate David de Gea‘s contract extension if they fail to sign a suitable replacement, according to a report.
The former Atletico Madrid man’s future has been called into question for a couple of years, but he has retained his position as undisputed number one at Old Trafford.
De Gea has fended off competition from Dean Henderson to retain possession of the gloves, seeing the 25-year-old join Premier League basement side Nottingham Forest on loan.
Despite the summer arrival of Martin Dubravka on loan from Newcastle United, De Gea has started all 13 of Man United’s games so far this term, keeping five clean sheets.
However, the 31-year-old’s performances have come under scrutiny, and he could leave the 20-time English champions as a free agent at the end of the season.
Man United can trigger an extension in De Gea’s deal to keep him at the club until 2024, but according to the Manchester Evening News, the Red Devils will only do so if a replacement cannot be found.
The report adds that Man United could even try to negotiate a new contract with De Gea – who has now made 500 appearances for the club – should they fail to add to their goalkeeping ranks.
Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak is believed to be a prime target for Man United, but the Slovenia international recently signed a long-term contract extension with Diego Simeone‘s side until 2028.
Furthermore, Man United are unlikely to consider shelling out a mammoth transfer fee or wages to a player who will turn 30 in January, forcing them to scope out potential alternatives.
A move for Aston Villa‘s Emiliano Martinez has also been mooted, as Dubravka is unlikely to sign for the Red Devils permanently following the conclusion of his loan spell.
Primeira Liga duo Odysseas Vlachodimos and Diogo Costa of Benfica and Porto respectively are also believed to be on Man United’s radar, but De Gea has affirmed that he wants to remain at Old Trafford for the long-term.
“I’m just very focused on the games helping the team as much as I can. Of course, I would like to be here for more years, so let’s see what happens in the future. I’m really, really happy here,” De Gea recently told reporters.
The Spain international has recorded 170 clean sheets in his 500 matches for Man United, winning the Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and three Community Shields at Old Trafford.
However, De Gea is fighting an uphill battle to force his way into Spain’s World Cup squad, with Athletic Bilbao’s Unai Simon, Brentford’s David Raya and Brighton & Hove Albion’s Robert Sanchez currently preferred by Luis Enrique.
De Gea is set to make his 501st appearance for Man United when they tackle Tottenham Hotspur in Wednesday’s Premier League clash at Old Trafford, with Erik ten Hag’s currently fifth in the table and three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who tackle Brentford on the same evening.