With Edwin Van Der Sar retiring on the biggest stage of them all on the 28th May, despite the cries of ‘One More Year’ from the Stretford End.
I feel it is imperative that the man that is lucky enough to be chosen to come in through the Old Trafford doors in the summer to replace him is the right man to fill the gloves.
It took us 6 years to properly replace Schmeichel when he said enough is enough after the treble season in ’99. With names such as Bosnich, Barthez, Carroll and Howard coming in and being unable to fill the void left by the Great Dane! Not to forget the infamous Taibi, who bar winning us a game at Anfield was far from an adequate successor.
In my eyes the signing of Anders Lindegaard looks set to see us offload Tomasz Kuszczak as he has stated he wants regular first team football! This would then leave Lindegaard as our number 2 behind the new signing in the summer still posing a number one shirt to be filled.
It seems there have been 3 names that have come to the forefront over the past couple of months:
Manuel Neuer – Shalke 04 (25years old, £20million)
We all saw the qualities of this lad in the Champions League semi-final in the first leg over in Germany as he kept United out for over an hour by himself. Problems in this deal however may arise as he’s widely rumoured to prefer a move to Bayern Munich. His part in the Darron Gibson goal in the second leg didn’t cover himself in glory either.
Maarten Stekelenburg – Ajax (28years old, £15million)
With a World Cup final already under his belt his CV looks impressive, and for me the experience he will have gained from that tournament alone could make Maarten the right man for the job! With 40 international caps already under his belt and nearly 200 appearances for Ajax he looks the real deal.
David De Gea – Athletico Madrid (20years old, £20million)
For me, although it’s been rumoured this lad is the next big thing, at only 20 years of age the experience he lacks could prove costly over a season! Only 56 first team appearances at Athletico may not be quite enough to entrust an Old Trafford number 1 for the next few years. If that risk were to pay off though, we’d have a new number one for a very long time with this young stopper.
Sir Alex has already gone on record stressing the importance of getting Edwin’s replacement right, with ‘learning from mistakes when replacing Peter’ having been mentioned on many occasions by the boss.
Each of the three above has their risks, but then again when is there ever a signing that doesn’t pose a few risks? My favourite of the three would probably be Stekelenburg for his experience if nothing else which is vital to a great keeper. Who would your money be on though if you were in Sir Alex’s position?