Despite denying this will be his last season, Edwin van der Sar will be 40 at the end of the month. Rumours of a potential replacement have picked up with numerous names having been thrown into the mix, so who would be best suited to taking over from Big Ed when he finally does decide to hang up the gloves?
At just 19 David De Gea has years ahead of him between the sticks. Despite this the young Spaniard isn’t content with being one for the future and is carving a name out for himself now. Forcing his way into the first team picture at Atletico, De Gea is rated as one of the best young goalkeepers in Europe and has won the Europa League already. The fact Sir Alex Ferguson took time out to watch him along with goalkeeping coach Eric Steele is an indication of how highly he may appear on the replacement list.
Another name that we have been linked with is Germany’s World Cup keeper Manuel Neuer. The 24 year old helped Germany win the European u21 championship in 2009 and graduated to the full team for the World Cup this summer and did his reputation no harm alongside the rest of Germany’s young contingent. He initially stated he wanted to stay in Germany but more recently he has spoken of an uncertainty regarding his future as he is ‘not comfortable with the current situation at Schalke.’ Perfect timing to make such a statement with rumours surrounding VDS future.
Although not as big a name as Neuer or De Gea, Anders Lindegaard of Aalesunds has been building quite a buzz in his own right. The 26 year old Danish keeper is being touted as the top Scandinavian goalkeeper and with the area having a rich history of providing quality goalkeepers, that is lofty praise. Lindegaard has been watched by United on numerous occasions with the latest being on Friday when Lindegaard came on as a second half sub for Thomas Sorensen. Lindegaard would be a cut price option but with his ever growing reputation, he may not be available on the cheap for long.
Emerging as a shock candidate, Juventus’ Gigi Buffon has also been mentioned. The Italian has been one of the best goalkeepers in the world for years and was the keeper who forced VDS out of the door at Juventus when he was signed for a record £32m from Parma. Tried and tested at the top level of the game and still relatively young for a goalkeeper at 31, Buffon would be an ideal replacement but Juve would demand a high fee for one of their best players and recently he has shown a propensity to getting injured which will also work against him.
There have been other names mentioned such as Frey from Fiorentina, Lloris from Lyon as well as Akinfeev who was strongly linked last season and even a throw away mention of former City number 1 Shay Given. As we saw with replacing Peter Schmeichel, it isn’t a small task and the person who is drafted in to fill the role will need to show ability as well as a mental toughness. All of the keepers mentioned have shown they can hold their own between the posts but if they can do the job between United’s posts is a complete different question.
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