Manchester United are in talks to bring Tom Heaton back to the club this summer, according to The Athletic.
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They claim United see the 35-year-old as a good addition amid uncertainty over whether or not current third-choice Lee Grant will be kept on ahead of next season.
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Aston Villa aren't believed to be likely to trigger the clause in Heaton's contract to extend his stay at the club by another year and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are understood to be ready to offer the 3-cap England international a return to the club where he started his career.
For his part, however, Heaton is thought to be weighing up whether or not to move to a team where he's unlikely to play.
Would Tom Heaton be a good signing for Man Utd?
Clearly, it's hugely unlikely Heaton would command much of a starting berth.
Still, for United, he would appear to be a strong option to have in reserve, should he get back to the level he was playing at before suffering a long-term knee injury in January 2020.
Indeed, last season, Heaton produced a respectable save percentage of 67.6% as well as the ninth-highest number of saves per game in the division (via FBREF).
As a backup, he looks capable of stepping in when absolutely necessary and, back in 2018, Burnley 'keeper Nick Pope told the Lancashire Telegraph that his former teammate was a great person to have around in the squad.
"He's a great character to have around in any environment," he said.
What about Dean Henderson and David De Gea?
Although Dean Henderson had looked to have played himself into the club's starting first-team plans of late, he was recently dropped for David De Gea following criticism of his performance against Liverpool.
Sky Sports recently revealed United had yet to finalise their plan for their goalkeeping department ahead of next season but claimed figures behind the scenes do not expect to have both big names in the squad for the 2021/22 campaign.
What did Heaton do at United during his first spell?
A product of United's famed academy system, Heaton did not make a first-team appearance for the club amid a number of loan spells.
Still, speaking to The Guardian in 2016, he revealed that legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson had wanted him to sign a new contract at Old Trafford, reacting angrily when Heaton revealed he was keen to leave in pursuit of regular first-team football.
“He was pretty short with me,” he said.
"It got heated for a minute or two.
"I’d spent an awful long time at the club, I joined them at 11 and, after everything they’d put into me, I was walking out of the door as a Bosman free transfer. I wasn’t looking forward to that meeting, if I’m being honest. But, deep down, I knew it was the right decision.”News Now - Sport News