Virus could save Man Utd millions

Stuart Telford
Stuart Telford
  • Updated: 24 Mar 2023 07:52 GMT
  • 3 min read
Last of Utd

One of Manchester United's targets to succeed David de Gea will be denied his international debut due to a stomach bug, potentially saving the club millions.

United are interested in Anderlecht youngster Bart Verbruggen, who has also previously been scouted by Liverpool, as they prepare for life after De Gea.

The Spaniard remains No.1 at Old Trafford and has been offered reduced terms to extend his stay beyond 2024, but the Red Devils are open to replacing him with Erik ten Hag keen to have a ball-playing goalkeeper at his disposal.

READ: Who is Bart Verbruggen? Man Utd's potential David de Gea successor

Diogo Costa was their primary target, but he signed a fresh deal with Porto in November which lifted his release clause to €75 million. Verbruggen, valued at €1.4m by FootballTransfers' in-house algorithm, is significantly cheaper.

His asking price might have skyrocketed had he made his Netherlands debut against France on Friday alongside the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Memphis Depay, but the 6'4" shot-stopper won't get the chance to play having been one of five players sent home with illness.

Dinner to blame

"In and around the Dutch national team, there is the conviction that the Oranje quintet Sven Botman, Cody Gakpo, Matthijs de Ligt, Joey Veerman and Bart Verbruggen were felled by the chicken curry which was Wednesday's dinner," report De Telegraaf.

READ: Bart Verbruggen breaks silence on Manchester United transfer rumours

"It is no secret that the Dutch national team players… have long been complaining about the food they are served in Hotel Woudschoten in Zeist. Immediately after dinner on Wednesday, a number of players got stomach problems."

Ronald Koeman, who replaced Louis van Gaal as Netherlands head coach in January, has called up Stefan de Vrij, Ryan Gravenberch and Kjell Scherpen as replacements.

The summer transfer window will be open by the time of the Netherlands' next round of games, meaning Verbruggen's loss now could end up Man Utd's win later.