Sheffield United have been given a double boost in their hopes of retaining Dean Henderson for next season.
The goalkeeper is currently midway through his second successive campaign on loan at Bramall Lane from Manchester United.
Blades manager Chris Wilder has made no secret of the fact he wants to bring Henderson back for 2020/21 as well.
Yet the 23-year-old’s impressive performances this term have attracted the interest of others. Only Burnley’s Nick Pope has kept more than Henderson’s 10 Premier League clean sheets in 2019/20.
The ‘keeper has also been part of the division’s second best defence, with only leaders Liverpool having conceded fewer than the Blades.
This has apparently led to interest from Chelsea. Meanwhile, Man United are considering whether Henderson should be their number one ahead of David de Gea.
Yet De Gea has only recently signed a new contract to extend his stay at Old Trafford to 2023. It is for this reason that former Red Devil, Paul Ince, believes Henderson is more likely to return to South Yorkshire.
“If United had a plan and Dean Henderson was in line then I don’t think they would have been stupid enough to give David de Gea a five-year contract,” Ince told Goal.
“The fact he signed that and they agreed that with Ole (Gunnar Solskjaer) means he is going to be the No.1 for a period of time.
“Unless he gets injured then I can’t see Henderson getting a chance despite being outstanding.”
Further boost for Sheffield United in signing Henderson
Ince makes a good point. Although De Gea has been more error-prone this season than in previous years, the Spaniard is still largely considered one of the best stoppers in the world.
Unless another club tries to sign the 29-year-old, he looks set to remain as first choice under Solskjaer.
Yet the Blades could help their cause even further by qualifying for Europe this term. Before the campaign was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, Wilder’s side were on course to achieve just that.
They are currently seventh in the table with 43 points from 28 matches. They have a game in hand over those teams directly above them. If they were to win that, they would rise as high as fifth.
With Manchester City set to serve a two-year ban from European club competition, that would mean Champions League qualification. Meanwhile, eighth place could be good enough for the Europa League because of City’s ban.
According to the Sheffield Star, if the Blades were to qualify for Europe in 2019/20 the club believes it would be impossible for Man United to reject their request to re-sign Henderson.
They are unlikely to sanction a deal for the England Under-21 international to move to Stamford Bridge. With the Blues the only other side seemingly interested, that further strengthens the Blades’ position.