Manchester United face a dilemma over whether to allow on-loan goalkeeper Dean Henderson to stay at Sheffield United if the season resumes – which could potentially cost them the multi-million-pound reward of Champions League football.
While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team currently occupy fifth place in the Premier League table – which would be enough for Champions League qualification if Manchester City‘s ban from European competition is upheld – the seventh-placed Blades are just two points behind.
What’s more, the Yorkshire club have a game in hand on their rivals from over the Pennines.
Dean Henderson, Manchester United’s on-loan goalkeeper at Sheffield United, has enjoyed an excellent season with the Blades unexpectedly chasing European qualification
Under new rules set to be approved by Premier League clubs, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Man United could recall Henderson from his loan if the current season resumes
This would be bad news for Chris Wilder and the Blades as they sit just two points behind Manchester United in the table with a game in hand
According to The Sun, the situation of loan players was discussed by Premier League stakeholders in their video conference last Friday.
Top-flight clubs demanded the parent club must agree to extend the loan beyond the expiry date of June 30, as well as the player and the team they’re on loan to.
If the season does restart following the Covid-19 shutdown, it’s almost certain that games will continue after June 30.
It means that Manchester United could veto the continuation of Henderson’s loan to Bramall Lane, which would be a huge blow to the Blades considering the keeper’s excellent form.
The 23-year-old has been a major factor in Sheffield United’s outstanding season, which has seen an unexpected push for Europe in their first campaign back in the top division.
The Blades currently sit seventh in the table but are just two points behind Man United in fifth – and they would leapfrog both United and Wolves if they won their game in hand
Henderson makes a sprawling save to deny Norwich’s Mario Vrancic during a match in March
The 23-year-old stopper has played himself into England contention with fine performances
This is Henderson’s fifth loan spell away from Old Trafford but he is increasingly seen as the long-term successor to David de Gea and is very much on Gareth Southgate’s radar for England.
United’s decision over whether to recall Henderson presents something of a moral dilemma. Not only would it go against the spirit of the clubs’ original loan agreement, it would also see Henderson put on the shelf instead of enjoying first-team action, as he is unlikely to displace De Gea for the time being.
It could make all the difference between Solskjaer’s side playing in the Champions League and Europa League next season, not to mention a £60million gulf in potential earnings.
Henderson is seen as the long-term successor to Manchester United current No 1 David de Gea
2019-20 Premier League matches only
Games played: 27
Goals conceded: 22
Minutes per goal: 110
Clean sheets: 10
Clean sheet percentage: 37
Save percentage: 75.6
Errors for goals: 1
The 20 clubs are expected to ratify the three-party loan agreement rule when the Premier League holds its next meeting on Monday.
Henderson is one of eight players currently on loan at a Premier League rival. Others include Tottenham full-backs Danny Rose and Kyle Walker-Peters, who are at Newcastle United and Southampton respectively.
Liverpool’s Harry Wilson is out on loan at Bournemouth, while Cedric Soares is on loan at Arsenal from Southampton and Ryan Bennett is at Leicester on loan from Wolves.