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12/06/2023 21:42

Man Utd set for transfer ‘discount’ on De Gea replacement after Guardiola dig

Erik ten Hag is keen to bring in competition for David de Gea during the summer transfer window, with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola even taking aim at the goalkeeper after the Champions League final

Manchester United could sign Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa for a discount price – if they move fast.

Costa, 23, is understood to have been shortlisted by United scouts in their search to find a long-term replacement for David de Gea, who’s facing an uncertain future at Old Trafford after 12 years there. The Portugal international previously had a €75million (£64.2m) price tag slapped on his head, with Porto keen to maximise profit on their impressive academy graduate.

Now, though, reports claim that the Portuguese giants are facing a financial conundrum which may well prompt them to lessen their demands. According to newspaper Correio da Manha, Porto need to make a big sale before the end of June in order to close the financial year in profit.

The Liga Portgual runners-up require over €60m (£51.3m) for that to be the case and Costa is viewed as their most saleable asset. Over the weekend, A Bola claimed that United have stepped up their interest in the 23-year-old and the report follows De Gea being on the receiving end of a sly dig from Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

After City’s narrow 1-0 victory over Inter Milan in the Champions League, Guardiola heaped praise on Inter ‘keeper Andre Onana for his ability on the ball. “It’s difficult when you have that keeper to high press properly,” the City manager explained.

“If you are man-to-man they link to the striker with [Romelu] Lukaku, Lautaro [Martinez] and [Edin] Dzeko, they are masters of keeping the ball. With United, for example, it’s long ball, with [Marcus] Rashford and the other one, they don’t keep it.”

De Gea’s shortcomings with the ball are central to why United boss Erik ten Hag would like to upgrade his first-choice goalkeeper, despite the Spaniard agreeing a new contract in principle. Costa’s distribution is of a much higher level and would allow the Red Devils to play more like Ten Hag’s former side, Ajax.

Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa is acclaimed for his distribution

Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa is acclaimed for his distribution (Image: Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)

Have your say! Would Diogo Costa be a good replacement for David de Gea? Give us your verdict in the comments section.

United right-back Diogo Dalot has already given his seal of approval to the move, having grown up with Costa in Porto’s academy and now being his team-mate on the international stage. “I grew up with him, he’s my friend, there’s a great relationship between us,” Dalot, is quoted as saying by Mais Futebol. “I know perfectly well that he has the capacity to one day be a world reference.”

The Red Devils defender added: “I don’t know if he’ll be at Manchester United or another big club in Europe. He shows at Porto that he is a differential goalkeeper and has helped the club a lot. If he continues there, I’ll be extremely happy. If he leaves, I hope he has the greatest success in the world.”

Ten Hag, however, is willing to give De Gea a chance to keep hold of the gloves next season, even if he brings in a challenger of Costa’s calibre. “We want him to stay and we want him to extend his contract,” the Dutch manager recently declared, with De Gea’s new deal still yet to be signed.

“He has the most clean sheets in the Premier League, so we would not be in this position without him. So he has fully my belief, no concerns, that happens but as a team you have to deal with it, you have to show character, be resilient and bounce back and this team will do.”

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