Manchester United are beginning to concede that they will lose David De Gea next summer and have identified several targets, including Jordan Pickford, as potential replacements.
Despite claims on Tuesday night by United manager Jose Mourinho that De Gea wants to stay, the club are exploring their options and are interested in Everton’s Pickford, whose reputation has soared since establishing himself as England’s No 1 and reaching the World Cup semi-finals in Russia.
Everton will expect a premium for the 24-year-old, who only signed a new six-year deal to tie him to the Merseyside club until 2024 in September as reward for his World Cup performances, and will want a significant increase on the £30million they paid Sunderland for the player last year. But United have been impressed with the amount of games he has amassed for a young goalkeeper, his shot-stopping and ability on the ball.
De Gea’s contract is set to end next summer and while United have an option to extend it automatically until 2020, it would leave them in a weak negotiating position with parties interested in the 28-year-old, who has established himself as one of the world’s best goalkeepers since signing from Atletico Madrid in 2011 and playing more than 250 matches for United.
Atletico Madrid’s Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak, 25, is another target they are monitoring. He is contracted to the La Liga club until 2021 but has a buyout clause of around £87m. Atletico Madrid chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin has been trying since the summer to agree improved terms with the player to secure a higher release clause — more than doubling the current figure — but he has so far been unsuccessful.