Manchester United face an ethical dilemma when the football season resumes – what to do about goalkeeper Dean Henderson.
Henderson has been on loan to Sheffield United and has been in excellent form for the Blades, registering better statistics than David de Gea in almost every measured category this season.
As per most loan deals, the 22-year-old’s expires on June 30th, which would normally be beyond the end of the season. But with the delays caused by the coronavirus lockdown, loan deals will need to be extended for players to stay with their current clubs until the campaign ends.
It is generally accepted that all three parties – the clubs sending and receiving the loaned player, and the player himself – will need to agree to the extension and that the Premier League will encourage everyone to comply.
And this is where the dilemma comes in for the Red Devils, as they find themselves being asked to loan Henderson to the team which is their closest competitor for fifth spot in the Premier League – and a place in next season’s Champions League.
The Blades are two points behind the Red Devils in the table with a game in hand.
And with Champions League football being worth around £60 million to qualifying clubs in terms of TV revenue and prize money, allowing Henderson to help the Yorkshire side pip United to that fifth spot would be suicide for the Reds, who also face a 30% reduction in their kit deal with Adidas – another £25 million – if they fail to qualify for the top European competition two years in succession. The total cost this season of failing to qualify would therefore be a massive £85 million or so.
Henderson will no doubt want to see out the season and finish the job he started in Sheffield and the Old Trafford club will want to keep their player happy and motivated. So it seems unfair on both the player and the Yorkshire club to pull the plug at the end of June. But imagine watching the young keeper pulling out a match-winning save or stopping a penalty (for which he has an amazing record) in the dying seconds of a game and denying the Red Devils that fifth spot.
It is an interesting dilemma for the powers-that-be at Old Trafford and a situation worthy of being monitored with interest.
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