Turkish giants respond to reports linking Sheffield United with their star goalkeeper
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According to reports in Turkey, which have subsequently been recycled by sections of the British media, Chris Wilder’s side are monitoring Bayindir’s situation closely as they explore potential long-term replacements for Dean Henderson.
Bayindir and Uğurcan Çakır, the 22-year-old’s counterpart at Trabzonspor, are said to feature on the list of possible targets United have identified should Henderson return to Manchester United when his season long loan expires.
But sources at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium last night told The Star they have not been approached by United - or anyone purporting to act on their behalf - about Bayindir, who it is also claimed interests Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur.
Wilder, whose side were seventh in the Premier League table when the fixture schedule was suspended two months ago, watched Bayindir in action when he attended February’s match between Fenerbahce and their arch-rivals Galatasaray.
With Henderson yet to discover if he will be allowed to rejoin United next term - there have been calls for him to replace David de Gea as Old Trafford’s ‘number one’ - the United manager acknowledged he is obliged to “try and cover every possible outcome” during a series of interviews in February.
That, combined with his presence in Istanbul, prompted a flurry of stories suggesting Wilder was preparing to sanction a £12.5m bid for Bayindir, who started his career with Ankaragücü before leaving the capital last summer.
Although Wilder will have been interested to observe the under-21 international, the reasons for his trip to the Intercontinental Derby were actually personal. United enjoy an excellent relationship with Fenerbahce after the two sides met during a pre-season friendly in 2014 and the 19-time Turkish Super Lig champions were among the first clubs to publicly congratulate United following each of their two promotions under Wilder.
If an approach has been made to Bayindir - and given the links between the teams - it would therefore be a major surprise if Fenerbahce’s hierarchy had not been informed first.
Although they are confident the terms of Henderson’s agreement will be extended to cover the remainder of a campaign mothballed because of coronavirus, United are still unsure if he will be summoned back to the North-West ahead of the 2020/21 season.
Retaining Henderson’s services for another 12 months is Wilder’s preferred option and talks, aimed at reaching a compromise with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s employers, are continuing behind the scenes.
Aware of the pressure on Solskjaer to choose between de Gea and Henderson, Wilder has insisted he will not provide a running commentary on the progress of those discussions despite confirming they are taking place.
But United are also known to be drawing-up a list of possible alternatives, should Henderson eventually depart. Watford’s Ben Foster has been suggested as an option although, having just turned 37, Wilder would probably prefer to consider younger candidates.