Following the seemingly inevitable departure of Edwin Van Der Sar in the summer, Sir Alex is faced with the task of replacing one of the worlds best keepers when he leaves. Although many fans hope he will stay on, his desire to retire at the top of his game and to spend more time with his family means it’s unlikely we will see him next season. In the twilight of his career, the incredible Dutch stopper has been in scintillating form and has simply highlighted how tough a task it will be to replace him.
With the arrival of Andres Lindegaard in the last transfer window, Sir Alex has the luxury of two promising keepers already able to replace the retiring Dutchman. However, despite being the Danish #1, the new arrival is largely untested at the highest level and although Tomas Kuzsczak’s shot-stopping ability is second to none, his all round game (crosses, communication, distribution) can be questionable. Either of these keepers may well be given an opportunity to prove themselves next season, but this is a huge decision for Sir Alex, who will be keen to ensure he gets it right first time, following the issues that surrounded Peter Schmeichel‘s departure. Here are the main targets that Kuszczak and Lindegaard will have to compete with:
The target of an apparent £17.5m bid, it seems that the 20 year-old keeper is Sir Alex’s favoured choice this summer, having watched him personally before Christmas. A young keeper with prodigious talent, the 6ft 3″ stopper seems to posses all the abilities to become a top class keeper but lacks one vital thing, experience. With less than 100 senior appearances, he would be a considerable risk. However, United have always invested, and believed, in young talent but the real question is whether or not this theory still applies for goalkeepers.
‘De Gea. He isn’t a random save here and there, he’s a true goalie. Superstar!’ @gibbypir
‘De Gea is the answer. Been excellent, consistently. Could be united keeper for next 15 + years!’ @One_Love_MUFC
If it was not for the fact he played for Liverpool, the Spanish stopper would be one of the first names on Sir Alex’s wishlist this summer. Athletic, passionate and reliable, he has proved himself at the highest level consistently and is used to performing in high pressure situations. He is currently on a long-term contract at Anfield but seems itching for Champions League football and may well be willing to make the short journey to Old Trafford to fulfill this wish. Although some may say his loyalty to Liverpool would stop him from doing this, I think we’ve all seen that loyalty doesn’t extend that far in modern day football (Torres to Chelsea).
Having famously acted so innocently when Frank Lampard‘s shot crossed the line in South Africa in the summer, Germany’s #1 has developed into one of the world’s best keepers in recent years. Less well known for his performances in the European Under-21 Championships (when his side beat England 4 0 in the final) a few years ago, Neuer certainly enjoys playing England but it seems he is reluctant to move to England, having stated his desire to remain in Germany in recent weeks. Would the lure of the Theatre of Dreams convince him otherwise?
‘Neuer for me, he experienced and big prospect but whoever comes in needs time and confidence when mistakes are made.’ @thequinndog
I always like it when a player publicly states his desire to join Manchester United, despite the fact it can cause tension at their current club, and this German stopper is no exception. Fighting for Neuer’s German #1 jersey, Adler certainly has talent and an ambition to join United, but whether Fergie has the same ambition to sign him, only time will tell.
‘It is an escape clause with a difference, because it only refers to one club. If United offer a certain amount, we have to let Rene go. He has always supported them, and he wanted to make sure the door was open, should they come calling. I know they have watched him quite a few times, so it may be difficult for us.’ Bayern Leverkusens Managing Director, Wolfgang Holzhauser.’
United Fan for Life
The Experienced Stoppers
Experienced in the World Cup, Van der Sar’s fellow countryman would be considered a safe pair of hands in goal next season and at an imposing 6ft 6″ the Dutch keeper certainly possesses the presence to succeed in the Premier League. Consistently good in the World Cup, the 28 year-old keeper has experience at the highest level and would be easy enough to purchase, considering Ajax’s weak financial position.
‘Steklenburg for me. Played for a big club in CL and a WC final.’ @RedDevilsBlog
‘Stekelenburg, experienced, good with both feet, solid goalie. With enough years in him’ @dilynux
Injury Prone…Past His Best… On the Decline – All words you will see associated with the most expensive keeper in football history. At 33 years-old, Buffon has recently struggled with recurrent shoulder and knee injuries. However, due a clause inserted when Juventus were demoted, he would be available on a free transfer in the summer, which is something that would make him an attractive proposition despite the risks involved and his £125k a week wages. Undoubtedly an unbelievable talent when fit, would Sir Alex be willing to take a gamble on the Italian or has he been too badly scarred by the the Owen Hargreaves saga?
Injury Prone but Worth the Risk?
Regardless of who Sir Alex chooses to replace Edwin Van Der Sar next year, we are always going to see a drop in quality following the Dutchman’s departure. Minimizing this drop will be Ferguson’s #1 priority in the summer transfer window and he may buy De Gea or Buffon or Neuer but in truth we all know that Van Der Sar is the keeper that we all want to see at Old Trafford next season. One more year Edwin?