Manchester United have completed the signing of former academy graduate Tom Heaton on a free transfer, with the veteran penning a two-year deal.
As confirmed by the club’s official website, Manchester United have completed their first transfer of the summer, with the signing of former goalkeeper Tom Heaton on a Bosman move. This news comes only a day after the Red Devils confirmed that they had reached an agreement to sign Jadon Sancho, whose transfer will be made official once the completion of a medical after the UEFA Euro 2020.
Heaton started out at the Wrexham academy before making the switch to the Manchester United youth setup. The goalkeeper spent as many as 13 years with the club, although he never got to make a first-team appearance at Old Trafford.
Instead, the shot-stopper spent time away on loan season after season and had stints at Swindon Town, Royal Antwerp, Cardiff City, QPR, Rochdale, and Wycombe Wanderers before he left for Cardiff permanently in the summer of 2010. The 35-year-old spent two years with the Bluebirds before signing for Bristol City, where he had a year-long spell, following which he joined Burnley.
During his time with the Clarets, Heaton established himself as a top goalkeeper in England and helped the club to two promotions to the Premier League while also becoming their captain. Having fallen behind Nick Pope in the pecking order at Burnley, the 35-year-old signed for Aston Villa in 2019, where he managed just 20 appearances.
🏠 𝗕𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝘁𝗼 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝘁 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗯𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗻.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 2, 2021
With his contract expiring with the Midlands’ club at the end of the last month, Heaton has now returned to his boyhood club, as it had been reported over the past couple of months, penning a two-year deal that expires in 2023.
Upon completing the transfer, the delighted goalkeeper said: “For me to have the opportunity to come back after spending 13 great years here as a kid, it’s an incredible feeling and I’m really, really excited to get started.
“I’m just seeing it as a fantastic opportunity as I still feel I’ve got an awful lot to give, and I’ve got the bit between my teeth. I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running. I feel in great shape, and I’m looking forward to coming in to compete with the other goalkeepers.”
Heaton will potentially be replacing Sergio Romero, who departed the club at the end of his contract, as the third-choice stopper behind David de Gea and Dean Henderson. Although, with reports claiming that one of those two could be allowed to leave this summer, the veteran could find himself as the No. 2.
Following Heaton’s signing, Manchester United also confirmed the contract extensions of veterans stars Lee Grant and Juan Mata, keeping them on the club’s books for one more year. The duo had seen their deals expire on 30th June but have swiftly re-signed short-term extensions, which will keep them at the club till 2022.