Agreed deal tees up Ten Hag to replace Man Utd superstar, with blockbuster move’s price set in stone

FC Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa Credit: Alamy
FC Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa Credit: Alamy

A deal agreed on November 3 has cleared the fog for Man Utd who now know how much it’ll cost to replace a superstar that doesn’t suit Erik ten Hag.

Upon Ten Hag’s arrival, questions were raised as to the suitability of a handful of Manchester United stars to their new manager.

Cristiano Ronaldo was one, with the 37-year-old’s lack of defensive work-rate a downside that was always going to pose problems.

David de Gea was another, and his situation is far trickier to resolve compared to Ronaldo’s when digging deeper.

Both players are out of contract in 2023, with the club holding options for one-year extensions.

Ronaldo is a declining force and his antics and ill-discipline will make any United decision to cut ties next summer all the easier.

By contrast, De Gea remains an elite performer with the gloves. He won Man Utd’s Players’ Player of the Year award last term.

He’s backed that up with another strong showing so far this campaign, and was hailed by his manager for his match-saving performance against West Ham last Sunday.

De Gea is also six years younger than Ronaldo at 31, and per the Athletic, may be willing to take a pay-cut to ensure he remains at Old Trafford. He currently pockets around £375,000-a-week.

Why is De Gea a problem?

His issue stems from his relative lack of ability with ball at feet. Ten Hag wants his side to dominate possession and also push higher up the pitch.

That requires De Gea to both be more comfortable in possession, as well as adopt a higher starting position. Unfortunately for De Gea, he’s not all that comfortable in either regard.

The Athletic reported United have already begun searching for more suitable fits who are also in their early-mid 20s. Athletic Bilbao’s Unai Simon and FC Porto’s Diogo Costa are on their radar.

Furthermore, the Manchester Evening News reported United are poised to appoint a goalkeeping recruitment analyst.

The new face will be tasked with identifying ‘potential first-team targets.’ The inference there is a De Gea successor will be the first priority.

Porto’s Diogo Costa would arguably represent United’s finest option if they were to seek a new arrival.

Diogo Costa deal opens door to Man Utd

The Portuguese international, 23, has made headlines for all the right reasons this season. He became the first goalkeeper to save three penalties in a Champions League campaign (excluding shoot-outs).

Man Utd’s interest has been well documented, though Porto too were aware.

In response, reports out of Portugal claimed they planned to pin Costa down to fresh terms that would also see his release clause rise. Under the terms of his old deal, Costa could be signed for €51m.

Now, Porto have confirmed Costa has indeed extended his stay, with Fabrizio Romano reporting an extension until 2027 has been signed.

More relevant to United is the new figure which Costa’s release clause has been raised to – €75m.

There were fears United may have to set a new world record for a goalkeeper if Costa were to be signed. The current mark is held by Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga who cost £72m.

At current exchange rate, €75m equates to £65.35m, meaning Man Utd won’t have to set new records to sign a player who looks destined to be one of the world’s best goalkeepers over the next decade.

With the release clause retained in Costa’s new deal – albeit raised – Man Utd now know how much it’ll take to land their De Gea upgrade.

READ MORE: Man Utd winger forced out by surprise star, as January exit gets double green light from Fabrizio Romano

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