Manchester United reportedly blocked goalkeeper Dean Henderson from sealing a January transfer deadline day move to Watford on loan.
The 24-year-old is behind David de Gea in the pecking order at Old Trafford and had also been tracked by Newcastle this winter, while Watford also made a late attempt to sign him, according to the Manchester Evening News.
Henderson could undoubtedly have been a useful addition at Watford, who are struggling in a relegation battle without a clear first-choice ‘keeper, and one imagines the player himself would also have benefited from the move as it would have given him more of a chance to play regularly in the Premier League.
De Gea is the clear number one for the Red Devils at the moment, so it’s not clear what they gain from keeping Henderson to warm the bench, which will surely just halt his development and lower his morale further, especially in a World Cup year.
As reported by the Daily Mirror and others, United also seemed to deploy a similar tactic with Jesse Lingard, as they prevented him from sealing a move as they feared that he could strengthen their rivals.
Lingard will be out of contract in the summer, so will then be free to move on, but it perhaps shows a worrying future for Henderson and others in a similar situation.
United are in a strong enough position that they don’t really need money from player sales, and so can keep on hoarding talent like this at the expense of other Premier League clubs, and against the good of their players too.
This doesn’t seem like an ideal way for the big clubs to be running as they already have so much of an advantage over the Watfords of this world, but we may as well give up hoping for the footballing authorities to step in and try levelling the game up a bit.