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‘The time wasn’t right’: Brazilian explains why Man United move didn’t happen in 2023

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Manchester United’s goalkeeper search ended with Andre Onana and Altay Bayindir arriving at Old Trafford last summer.

But it could have gone very differently, resulting in two very different players competing for for that number one jersey.

Before finally agreeing a £47 million deal with Inter Milan for Andre Onana, Manchester United held talks with Feyenoord’s Justin Bijlow. A fact confirmed by the Dutch international himself.

Bayindir, meanwhile, only put pen to paper as United’s new back-up glovesman after discussions with Odysseas Vlachodimos and Zion Suzuki. The former would end up struggling for minutes at Nottingham Forest, in contrast to the latter who justified his decision to head to Belgium in pursuit of regular football with an outstanding campaign at Sint-Triuden.

As for Matheus, the long-serving Braga glovesman, the 2023/24 season was the fourth in a row in which he featured in more than 40 games across all competitions. It’s hard to imagine Matheus would have got anywhere near that tally at Old Trafford, Bayindir appearing only once with Erik ten Hag reluctant to rotate between the sticks.

Matheus of Sporting Braga controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League match between SC Braga and SSC Napoli at Estadio Municipal de Braga on...

Photo by Diogo Cardoso/Getty Images

Matheus missed out on Manchester United move

Speaking to TNT Sports. in November, the 32-year-old Brazilian was understandably ‘proud’ to learn that Man United had considered him too during the summer of 2023.

“When you receive the contact and see that, (the interest of) a big European club, it moves you,” ” Matheus smiled.

“You’re a boy who leaves Brazil full of dreams and you always see these big clubs on the TV. You follow them in the Champions League, the Premier League. The great players who have played there. David Beckham, David De Gea…

“The guys (from Manchester United) got in touch with me. I spoke to the coach. It was Ten Hag.

“Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. It’s God’s plan. Maybe, if I went there, something would have gone wrong. But the important thing is that I feel very happy here at this club.”

Eight months on, Matheus has once again opened up on those United discussions, as well as those with Nottingham Forest. This time, he provided some extra clarity on why his dream move to Old Trafford did not come to fruition.

“There was interest from Nottingham Forest last season,” Matheus now tells O Jogo. “But the (Braga) chairman thought it would be better if I stayed.

“There were a few (talks) that never got going. Nottingham Forest, Manchester United, Nice and some (clubs) from Brazil. None were finalised because the time wasn’t right.”

  • READ MORE: Who is Andre Onana? Delve into the life of Manchester United’s Cameroonian shot-stopper

If it wasn’t for the intervention of Antonio Salvador, Braga’s president, would Matheus be earning a living in Manchester today? Possibly. Bayindir instead taking the place that the Red Devils had set aside initially for a man who is now closing in on 350 appearances for a Braga side he joined a decade ago from America Mineiro.

United have again been linked with goalkeepers this week. But Fabrizio Romano insists that reports suggesting Genoa’s Josep Martinez could be on his way to England’s North West are wide of the mark.

The one-time Spain international is instead set to complete a potential £12.5 million move to Serie A champions Inter Milan.

“Inter and Genoa will discuss today (Wednesday) to close the deal for Josep Martinez,” Romano explains on X, the Serie A champions offering midfielder Gaetano Oristanio as part of a cash-plus-player deal.

“Talks at the final stages now. Josep Martinez’s move to Inter is imminent. Final details being sorted then it will be done this week.

“No interest from Man United despite recent links.”

  • READ MORE: Manchester United confirmed signings, transfers in, out, loan exits, releases for 2024/25

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