Deal close: Man United now in advanced talks to sign in-demand gem ahead of Arsenal and Chelsea

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Goalkeeper Andre Onana will depart to join the Cameroon side for the Africa Cup of Nations following Manchester United’s matchup with Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League this weekend. Despite his country’s opening group-stage match against Guinea the next day, Onana has been granted exceptional permission to play against Spurs.

With Onana out for an extended period of time (he might not return until mid-February, depending on Cameroon’s performance in the competition), United will probably turn to Altay Bayindir, their summer acquisition from Fenerbahce, who has started every Premier League game this season on the bench.

Given that Bayindir is only one year younger than Onana and is 26 years old, there doesn’t seem to be much hope for him eventually to start at Old Trafford. But it appears that Erik ten Hag might be targeting a young goalie who could eventually be United’s top choice.

United in advanced negotiations with goalkeepers

The Daily Record in Scotland reports that United is nearing an agreement to sign 17-year-old Callan McKenna, who plays for Queen’s Park in his native country’s second division. The Red Devils have entered “advanced talks” regarding a contract that is anticipated to be “loaded” with add-ons and cost a “six-figure” sum. In the event that certain terms are fulfilled, Queen’s Park may wind up with more than £1 million.

Manchester United’s Old Trafford
Although Arsenal and Chelsea, two Premier League rivals, have also expressed “serious” interest in McKenna, United appears to have been following him “for some time” and now appears poised to win the trade race.

McKenna sounds like Ten Hag.

There’s a limit to what we know about McKenna because he’s still so young and isn’t playing football at the highest level, but everything you see points to his being a highly promising player. Following stints at Celtic and Hibernian, as well as a training assignment with Leicester, he made his Queen’s Park debut and played in nine games (seven league and two cup) before sustaining an injury.

He was called up to Scotland’s under-19 squad for a friendly match against Belgium because of his club’s excellent early-season results, and he undoubtedly has ambitions to one day hold the top spot in his nation.

It appears like he has a good deal of confidence in his footwork as well. In an August post, former Scotland custodian Rab Douglas praised McKenna for his “confidence” in pulling off a “Cruyff turn” in his own six-yard box when under siege and holding onto the ball. “It’s clearly been coached into him to play out from the back and trust his ability with the ball at his feet,” said Douglas.

It should come as no surprise that United’s scouts are drawn to goalkeepers with this particular profile. Ten Hag has attempted to inculcate the mentality of playing out from the back, and Onana, who was bought after David de Gea left the team last summer, ranks fourth in the Premier League in terms of passes attempted (690) this season.

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