Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder is still hopeful of landing Dean Henderson next year – after a chat with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer secured his services for the rest of this season.
The Red Devils keeper, 23, on loan at the Blades, was their standout performer before lockdown.
And Solskjaer believes he will become the Man United and England No 1.
With David de Gea still in possession of the gloves at Old Trafford, Solskjaer was happy to let Henderson finish the campaign in South Yorkshire.
But while the Spaniard, 29, is still Solskjaer’s first choice, Henderson’s future beyond this season remains unclear.
Wilder said: “We have had initial conversations. Of course, we would be open to Dean coming back.
“He’s Manchester United’s player so they will make that decision with what is best for themselves, in conjunction with Dean.
“And obviously from our point of view, if there is an opportunity, we would love to take that up.”
On getting Solskjaer’s blessing to keep Henderson for their European push, which begins at Aston Villa on Wednesday, Wilder added: “I spoke to Ole yesterday morning and I thanked him for his cooperation with Dean.
“We are in the process over the next couple of days of finalising Dean staying with us until the end of the season.
“I have to say, the manager was brilliant, and always has been with me and our football club.
“He was very pro Dean staying and delighted in terms of what Dean has produced for us – and what we have done for Dean as well.
“That can’t go amiss and understated in terms of the opportunities we have given Dean to play Premier League football. Certainly, he has hugely been involved with our performance and results over the last two years.”
Wilder’s side sit two points behind the Red Devils in seventh in their first season after promotion from the Championship.
With an FA Cup quarter-final against Arsenal also on the horizon, the Blades are within reach of the greatest season in the club’s history.
But Wilder will refuse to look at what could be achieved until the last couple of games.
He said: “If we get into the last two or three games of the season and we are still there or thereabouts then we will look to turn a really good season into a memorable one.
“There’s always got to be something at the end of the tunnel but not at the moment.”