Date: 21st June 2011 at 2:38am
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The retirement of Edwin Van Der Sar has left Manchester United on the lookout for a recognised number 1.

Sir Alex Ferguson hadn’t had much luck with picking goalkeepers after the departure of the great Peter Schmeichael, until he signed Van Der Sar from Fulham in 2005.

Who can forget the likes of Massimo Taibi, Mark Bonsnich, Fabien Barthez and Tim Howard; all prone to the odd mistakes that could cost United a game.

Taibi had a shocking game away to Chelsea and then allowed a weak shot from Matt Le Tissier to slip through his grasp to give Southampton a point.

Barthez’s catalogue was just as laughable; 2 farcical goals at Highbury against Arsenal in a 3-1 defeat, his antics in the FA Cup defeat to West Ham at Old Trafford where he tried to outwit Paulo Di Canio by appealing for an offside decision which never came thus leaving Di Canio to roll the ball into the net and Barthez looking very embarrassed.

The 2 main players that have been linked with the number 1 shirt are David De Gea and Maartan Stekelenburg and although Tomasz Kuszczack may have something to say about it, it is unlikely that he is in the running.

Kuszczak has found himself as our number 2 for the majority of his career here and although a good shot stopper does not inspire confidence with the ball at his feet, looking especially uncertain in United’s last away league game to Blackburn Rovers.

De Gea may lack experience with him being only 20 years old but he doesn’t lack confidence and quality, in 84 appearances for Athletico Madrid he has kept 24 clean sheets.

Stekelenburg has the more experience being 28 but is still relatively young for a goalkeeper. He has made 282 appearances for Ajax and has 40 international caps for the Netherlands including the experience of playing in a World Cup final.

Whoever steps in to make the number 1 jersey their own will definitely have massive boots to fill. Van Der Sar’s list of honours are as long as they are glorious, holding the world league clean sheet record in 2008-2009, going 1311 minutes without conceding a goal. He was also voted best European goalkeeper in 1995, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and UEFA club goalkeeper in 1995 and 2009.

De Gea is being mooted as the person to step in but nothing has been confirmed as yet, he himself said he will make no decision until the European u21 championship is over. Diego Forlan has stated he has what it takes to succeed at Old Trafford whilst Stekelenburg was reportedly picked as successor by van der Sar himself.

The position will not be an easy one to fill as the pressure of playing at the biggest club in the world can cripple rather than bring out the best as we’ve seen before but both come with glowing recommendations and reputations so if they want to be deemed a success must stand up to the test their appointment will present.

Piece courtesy of Chris Wormald


8 responses to “An important decision that Sir Alex will have to get right”

  1. John Tring says:

    SAF had already got this decision wrong. He didn’t buy Neuer. There is no such thing as a player not keen. It’s all about money and persuasive power. We at Utd seem to lack both now.

    • Josh says:

      That is not true!

      Neuer is a good keeper but look at how he played against us at Old Trafford. The guy is inconsistent and United can’t afford another inconsistant replacement like Barthez or God forbid, Bosnich!

      Neuer wanted to play for Munich because thats where most of the German national squad play, he had his heart set on it before we even openly stated our interest.

      I thjink that we need a keeper who wants to play for us.

      Oh, and to say that we lack the money when we’ve spent around £16m on Jones and probably around £20 on De Gea?!?!?!?!?

      Get your maths sorted and start realising the old saying, “In Fergie we trust”.

  2. reddevil4ever says:

    to johntring
    SAF wouldn’t buy neuer after his part in gibson’s goal in champions league semi 2nd leg match against schalke

  3. JETELINHO says:

    neuer is not as good as you might think – he has got saves out of Earth, but very often makes unexpected mistakes. So, John Tring – you most probably do not watch bundesliga every week & therefore are NOT well informed. To the topic itself – yeah, this is a HUGE decision to be made & I have to admit that I am not sure whom to choose … though looking on the market, I DO think the 2 mentioned are the 2 best available. And YES – nothing has been agreed yet, so we will have to wait & see … I believe, the first 2 weeks of July could be bussier then now.

  4. mylock says:

    neuer didn’t want to leave Germany, his girlfriend is also from Munich. Neuer is a great shot stopper but he’s prone to lack of concentration and silly mistakes.
    so far De gea looks good for his current club and the Spanish u21’s. lets give him a chance before we start judging him.

  5. SG says:

    Neuer was always going to Bayern, and it didn’t really matter who went in for him. As has been mentioned, he completely bottled it in the 2nd leg of the semi at OT. If De Gea, as expected, signs for United, he’s the right choice.

    As he’s Spanish though, the one thing we have to be wary of is a bid from Real a few years down the line once Casillas retires.

  6. MW says:

    Agree about Neuer and it’s nothing to do with lack of money or persuasive power. We need a top keeper and we don’t want to waste time chasing someone who doesn’t want to leave his home country. I still think De Gea will be the one, despite the rumours about him not coming. There’ll be no announcement until after the Under-21 championships though.

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