Manchester United one step closer to £40m ace with replacement deal agreed
Brentford have reportedly agreed a deal to sign Freiburg goalkeeper Mark Flekken in a move that could free up David Raya to join Premier League giants Manchester United.
That is according to West London Sport;, the publication claiming that Thomas Frank’s side are now ‘set to complete the signing’ of a Dutch international who has blossomed into one of the Bundesliga’s most reliable shot-stoppers at overachievers SC Freiburg.
Frank has made no secret of his desire to bring in a new goalkeeper, with David Raya reluctant to extend a contract which is due to expire in just over 12 months’ time. And as negotiations for Flekken progress, no one could accuse Brentford of being ‘unprepared’.
Mark Flekken on his way to Brentford
“Everyone knows he’s a £40m-plus goalkeeper,” Frank says of Raya. “We are prepared like in any other position. There is a possibility that maybe he will leave this summer for the right price.
“If that happens then of course we need to be prepared.”
Brentford have a good relationship with Freiburg, having snapped up Kevin Schade from the Black Forest outfit January. The Bees are expected to secure a deal for a bargain £11.5 million, due to a release clause in Flekken’s contract (Sky Germany).
“It may be that Mark leaves us,” sporting director Jochen Saier said over the weekend.
It’s unlikely Flekken – a 29-year-old hoping to establish himself as Holland’s number one ahead of the 2024 European Championships – would join Brentford without being assured of a starting place in West London.
All the signs, then, appear to point to Raya’s departure.
Will David Raya be Manchester United’s next goalkeeper
According to The Telegraph, the former Blackburn Rovers glovesman is one of a number of goalkeeping options Manchester United are considering. Brentford want £40 million. A hefty fee for a man who will be a free-agent next year. But Raya’s proven track record in the Premier League – and his standout technical ability – is likely to appeal to Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag.
Raya’s distribution is so impressive that, as Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp pointed out recently, it almost seems as if Brentford have an extra outfield player on the pitch at times.
Raya has attempted almost 1,300 passes this term – the most in the Premier League (Fbref). He is certainly better suited to Ten Hag’s build-from-the-back approach than the increasingly-maligned David de Gea.
“Obviously it’s nice to hear that clubs are after you,” Raya tells the Yours, Mine, Away! podcast.
“These clubs are the biggest in the world. Every player wants to play for these clubs. I have a year left (at Brentford), and I don’t know what will happen in the summer.
“I’ve said before that I’ve had two contracts that I’ve turned down. They weren’t the offers I was looking for.
“I want to push myself to the highest level. To the Champions League, the Europa League, and to win those trophies. I want to experience that and I’m at that stage in my footballing career.”
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