Man Utd ‘launch David de Gea succession plan’ as Erik ten Hag sticks to formula

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag reviews the West Ham game

Manchester United are interested in signing Anderlecht goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen this summer, according to reports. Erik ten Hag has potentially launched his David de Gea succession plan as uncertainty swirls over the Spaniard’s Old Trafford future.

De Gea is set to sign a United contract extension ahead of his current £375,000-a-week deal’s July 1 expiry, including a significant salary reduction.

But that is more so to balance the books and mend the Red Devils’ lob-sided wage bill than to secure the 32-year-old’s status as Ten Hag’s No 1.

The truth is that position is far from safe, following a flurry of errors compiling on doubts about whether he suits the Dutchman’s style.

And Ten Hag is said to be eyeing fresh competition in the summer transfer window, potentially to replace De Gea immediately.

According to the Manchester Evening News, United are keeping tabs on Anderlecht starlet Verbruggen amid a bright start to his senior career.

Manchester City icon and Burnley boss Vincent Kompany handed him his senior debut in May 2021, aged 18, and he has made 31 appearances for the Belgian giants since.

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Now 20, Verbruggen has caught the eye with his exploits between the sticks, receiving his inaugural Netherlands call-up for April’s European Championship qualifiers.

United are expected to recruit a new stopper this summer after appointing a goalkeeper recruitment analyst earlier in the season.

And though De Gea is expected to remain at Old Trafford next term, his status as first-choice stopper won’t be as comfortable.

Dean Henderson’s return from injury after his loan spell at Nottingham Forest was cut short will apply pressure from the get-go in pre-season.

But Ten Hag wants fresh blood within his ranks, and pursuing Verbruggen would continue a trend that has flowed through his two transfer windows as United boss.

He has favoured players either from the Netherlands or who have played and developed in his homeland as he looks to shape the squad to his vision.

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United signed Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia and Antony from the Dutch Eredivisie last summer.

Christian Eriksen, who joined on a free transfer, graduated from the Ajax academy.

Ten Hag opted for Dutch striker Wout Weghorst in January as an emergency signing after Cristiano Ronaldo’s sudden departure.

Verbruggen likely wouldn’t be Ten Hag’s Ederson or Alisson signing that helped revolutionise City and Liverpool under Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp. Not immediately, anyway.

But a goalkeeper is on the agenda this summer, even if it’s not until 2024 that a significant chunk of the budget is aimed at De Gea’s immediate successor.

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