Who is new Man United goalkeeper Tom Heaton and what his signing means for David De Gea and Dean Henderson

Tom Heaton is set to return to Old Trafford on a free transfer from Aston Villa

Tom Heaton has returned to fitness with Aston Villa, but will join Man United on a free transfer this summer.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to have completed his first signing of the summer – and it has got Manchester United fans wondering what it means for two big players.

United will sign goalkeeper Tom Heaton on a free transfer when his contract expires with Aston Villa at the end of June.

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The former England shot-stopper hasn’t played for 18 months due to injury, but will come into the United squad to provide cover in the goalkeeping department.

Tom Heaton leaves the pitch on a stretcher after being injured during the Premier League match against his old club Burnley on January 01, 2020.

But what does it mean for current keepers David de Gea and Dean Henderson? We take a look at the goalkeeper situation at Old Trafford.

Who is Tom Heaton?

The 35-year-old goalkeeper has been at Aston Villa since 2019. He joined for £8million from Burnley.

Heaton started his career at Manchester United, winning the FA Youth Cup as an academy player. However, he never featured for the first team and after loan spells at the likes of Cardiff City, QPR and Rochdale, he turned down a new contract offer in 2010 to join Cardiff.

He joined Bristol City in 2012 and spent a year there before joining Burnley, where he played more than 200 games and was capped by England. He has three international appearances for the Three Lions and was on standby for the 2018 World Cup.

Why is Tom Heaton leaving Aston Villa?

Heaton joined Villa for around £8m in 2019 but on New Year’s Day 2020 he suffered a season-ending knee injury during a 2–1 win against his former team Burnley.

Villa signed Emiliano Martinez from Arsenal in the summer, with Heaton still injured. Heaton made his return to football for Aston Villa U23s on 10 November 2020, after more than 11 months out.

He returned to the first team squad for the first time since his injury on Boxing Day, featuring as an unused substitute in a 3-0 home win over Crystal Palace. He has been unable to dislodge Martinez from the side, however, and his Villa contract expires on 30 June 2020, making him a free agent.

What does this mean for Man United’s other goalkeepers?

One area Man United are well stocked is the goalkeeping department, with Solskjaer having the enviable position of having to choose between David De Gea and Dean Henderson as his No 1.

Henderson has got the nod in recent weeks, and was named in the provisional England squad for Euro 2020. However, he could miss out to Spaniard De Gea for the Europa League final against Villareal on Wednesday night.

One of the keepers looks set to leave Old Trafford this summer, with De Gea the favourite to depart. That would mean Heaton named as No 2, although United could look to bring in another goalkeeper as current backup options Sergio Romero and Lee Grant are also out of contract this summer and could be on their way through the exit door.