Sheffield United still Manchester United's preferred destination for Dean Henderson, but there's a hitch

Bramall Lane remains Manchester United’s preferred destination for Dean Henderson next season if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer keeps faith with David de Gea, but the stipulations they are insisting upon before allowing the goalkeeper to spend a third season out on loan are threatening to scupper that plan.

Tuesday, 11th August 2020, 11:59 am

The Star has been told that Henderson, who has developed into one of the country’s finest goalkeepers since joining Sheffield United on loan two years ago, would welcome a return to Chris Wilder’s side if de Gea remains Solskjaer’s first choice - with the Norwegian also keen on sending him back to South Yorkshire should that situation materialise.

But United, who finished ninth in the Premier League last season after being promoted from the Championship during Henderson’s first spell in South Yorkshire, are thought to be concerned by some of the clauses negotiators acting on Solskjaer’s behalf are insisting upon during their talks which began just before Christmas.

One source of frustration is thought to be the fact that the percentage of Henderson’s wage Manchester United want United to pay, coupled with a rise in the fee required to facilitate the proposed deal, is believed to have changed since their discussions opened. That could explain why it took so long for Wilder to announce the 23-year-old would complete the remainder of the 2019/20 campaign with his squad when the fixture programme was temporarily suspended in March because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Henderson has made it clear he does not want to act as de Gea’s understudy after emerging as a candidate to anchor England’s defence at next summer’s rescheduled European Championships.

That has left Solskjaer facing a conundrum, given his unflinching support for the error-strewn de Gea the player’s estimated £18m a contract which still has three years left to run. Chelsea are known to be interested in luring Henderson to Stamford Bridge but Manchester United are unlikely to want to sell, should Solskjaer’s hand be forced, to one of the closest rivals.

Wilder has identified AFC Bournemouth’s Aaron Ramsdale as a potential replacement for Henderson, after also signing Wes Foderingham on a free following his departure from Rangers.

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Manchester United's Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (L) and FC Copenhagen's Norwegian head coach Stale Solbakken speak at the end of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match between Manchester United and FC Copenhagen at the RheinEnergieStadion, in Cologne, western Germany: WOLFGANG RATTAY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Dean Henderson of Sheffield United warms up prior to the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Tottenham Hotspur at Bramall Lane on July 02, 2020 in Sheffield, England: Oli Scarff/Pool via Getty Images