Manchester United are reportedly ‘closing in’ on signing former Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha this summer, according to Geoff Peters of talkSPORT. The 27-year-old Albanian international saw his contract with Italian side Lazio end this summer and is currently a free agent.
Newcastle United were reportedly interested in signing Strakosha a month ago but that interest seemed to disappear. The player was then linked to newly promoted Premier League side Fulham, but they seem to be signing Bernd Leno from Arsenal instead.
Chelsea were then stated to have an interest, seemingly rivalling Fulham back in June, but again, that interest seems to have died down a little. It is expected that Erik ten Hag will sign a new goalkeeper this summer so there are three available in his squad.
United allowed Dean Henderson to head to Nottingham Forest for the 2022/23 season and Lee Grant left on the expiry of his contract. Nathan Bishop and Matěj Kovář are both part of the preseason tour squad but it is expected that both will head out on loan from United this summer.
Last month, it was suggested that United were interested in signing Austrian goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann from Watford, but that move broke down. It would leave United with a player to find and if these reports from Peters and talkSPORT are correct, they could have found their man.
Born in Athens, Greece, Strakosha started out playing youth football for Panionios before heading to Lazio’s academy in 2012. He made his debut in 2014 but was loaned to Salernitana for the 2015/16 season. The 27-year-old has been capped 19 times by Albania.
Represented by Pini Zahavi, like United left-back Alex Telles – who could depart the club this summer, Strakosha has a strength of long passing, or distribution but has a weakness for saving long shots – which is not really ideal – but he would be third in line in the position.
Last season, Strakosha made a total of 31 appearances for Lazio, keeping 11 clean sheets but conceding 36 goals. Whilst at Lazio, he made 208 appearances, keeping 62 clean sheets, conceding 247 goals. At Salernitana he made 13 appearances, kept two clean sheet and conceded 16 goals.
Whilst he may not be an ideal signing, if this report is true, he would fill a problem area in the United squad for the 2022/23 season. He could be given a one or two year contract and would be more beneficial than having a youth player on the bench to seldom see any game time.
Written by John Walker