Man United set to sign free agent Thomas Strakosha – Reuters

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Manchester United are close to signing 27-year-old Albanian goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha. The former Lazio goalkeeper is currently out of contract after almost ten years with Lazio in the Italian top flight, having joined the club’s academy in 2012.

The Albanian free agent went on to make 164 league appearances for the Italian giants, earning a reputation as one of the country’s most respected shooters.

According to a report by 90 minutesthe Red Devils are close to finalizing a deal to bring Strakosha to Old Trafford, with the player keen to move to the Premier League amid interest from league rivals Chelsea and newly promoted Fulham.

Manchester United have been linked with a goalkeeper move all summer, with names like Watford’s Daniel Bachmann and Newcastle’s Karl Darlow flagged as real targets for the club and manager Erik ten Hag. The ties for these two appear to have cooled in recent weeks which could pave the way for Strakosha to join United’s goalkeeping union.

Dean Henderson, who was De Gea’s assistant for much of last season after failing to dislodge the Spain international, recently made a move to Nottingham Forest in search of first-team minutes. This, coupled with Lee Grant’s earlier exit, made it all the more important for the Reds to take care of the goalkeeper position.

Strakosha looked likely to move to Fulham before the move fell apart due to failed talks and strained relations between the Cottagers and the player’s super-agent Pini Zahavi. The West London club have since been declared close to bring in Bernd Leno from Arsenal, signaling the end of their pursuit for Strakosha.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is also said to have been interested in the goalkeeper with 19 selections as a replacement for Senegalese Edouard Mendy in the event of Kepa Arrizabalaga leaving the club.

The Albanian could potentially become Erik ten Hag’s second summer signing of his new era as Manchester United manager after the club pulled off a coup for Dutch youngster and former Feyenoord defender Tyrell Malacia.

United would certainly have a goalkeeper with sufficient pedigree. Strakosha would arrive at the club in fine form after finishing last season as Lazio’s first-choice between the sticks against Pepe Reina. The 27-year-old finished the last term with seven clean sheets in 23 appearances. In total, Strakosha recorded 62 clean sheets in his 208 appearances in goal for the Biancocelesti in all competitions.

The Athens-born keeper would be a much-needed reinforcement for United. Almost all top clubs operate with at least three active goalkeepers in the first team. Strakosha would represent a cheap and decent option for United, with little to no risk. On the face of it, it seems like a smart move by the club without jeopardizing the summer transfer budget.

If he passes his medical and completes his move to the Theater of Dreams, Strakosha will travel to Bangkok to join the rest of his teammates who kicked off the team’s pre-season tour.

It remains to be seen by all United fans what role Strakosha would play at United. Will he be De Gea’s number two, or will he fall below 36-year-old Tom Heaton in the goalkeeping pecking order?


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