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Manchester United Eyeing A Move For Highly Rated Young Japanese Goalkeeper As Backup

Zion Suzuki, Manchester United

Manchester United are preparing a move for Zion Suzuki to play as their 2nd-choice goalkeeper next season. The Red Devils have signed Andre Onana who will be their first-choice goalkeeper. However, United still need a second-choice keeper with a similar playing style to that of Onana.

Zion Suzuki is a 20-year-old goalkeeper playing for the Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds. He is the reserve keeper at Urawa Reds and has a sporadic role in the squad. He has played only 5 matches in the J-League Cup and has kept two clean sheets while conceding only three goals in the five games (stats via Transfermarkt).

Zion Suzuki in action for Urawa Reds, Manchester United, Zion Suzuki
Image Obtained Via GOAL

According to Fabrizio Romano, Zion Suzuki is one of 3 options being considered by Manchester United as a backup goalkeeper. However, their pursuit has been slow since United were busy finalizing the signing of Andre Onana. The Red Devils could sign Suzuki for a fee of £5 million which will be a record fee for a Japanese player.

David de Gea confirmed his departure from Manchester United after spending 12 years at the club. Moreover, Dean Henderson is likely to join Nottingham Forest on a permanent deal. United had to rely on 37-year-old Tom Heaton to start in their pre-season friendly game against Leeds United. The Red Devils have got their first-choice replacement and need to sign a second-choice option to transition effectively into the next season.

Matej Kovar impressed against Leeds in the second half and he is certainly a goalkeeper to watch for the future. He was on loan to Sparta Prague last season and helped them win the league. However, the 23-year-old keeper might spend another season on loan to gain more experience and help United in the future.

Why Manchester United have Scouted Zion Suzuki?

Andre Onana was one of the best, if not the finest, ball-playing goalkeepers in Europe last season. Having a keeper with good ball-playing ability allows Erik ten Hag to have more control of the game. His defence can be more confident in possession because of an extra passing option. Onana will also allow United to play a higher line of defence to put more pressure on the opposition.

Zion Suzuki playing for Urawa Reds, Manchester United, Zion Suzuki
Image Obtained Via Manchester Evening News

However, Onana cannot be playing each and every match for United. Therefore, United need a backup goalkeeper with similar attributes to that of Onana which will suit their game plan. United have been scouting Zion Suzuki since 2017 and the Japanese could finally play for United if a deal materialises. Marciej Skorza, the manager of Urawa Reds, said the following regarding Zion Suzuki in February,

“The Reds have four very interesting goalkeepers. Among them, Shusaku (Nishikawa) and Zion are of a very high level. I think Zion is taller than Shusaku, and I think he’s a young player with a lot of future potential.”

Ten Hag always wanted a goalkeeper who has a good distribution of the ball and is comfortable having possession. David de Gea was not the best when distributing and United suffered the consequences on many occasions in the past few seasons. Despite being an excellent shot-stopper, Ten Hag still didn’t see De Gea as his No. 1 goalkeeping choice.

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Most of the transfer targets are being convinced by the Dutch manager’s project at United. They even agree on personal terms, but a tight transfer budget has been a difficult obstacle to get past. Nevertheless, signing Suzuki doesn’t look like much of an issue considering he is available for a very cheap price. Although United may face a dilemma of loaning Kovar and playing Suzuki as a second-choice keeper or vice versa.

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