Maarten Stekelenburg latest name to be linked with Old Trafford goalkeeping vacancy.
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United have narrowed their search for Edwin van der Sar’s successor to three candidates – believed to be Maarten Stekelenburg, Manuel Neuer and Atletico Madrid stopper David de Gea.
And it seems the Dutchman has jumped to the top of the list to replace his countryman at Old Trafford after Schalke 04 confirmed they have opened talks with Neuer over buying out a contract clause that would allow him to leave the German club unopposed in the summer.
Stekelenburg’s club, Ajax, are similarly loathed to lose their first-choice shot-stopper, but are in need of any income from transfers due to ongoing financial issues.
De Gea, 20, believed to be the final name on Sir Alex Ferguson’s shortlist, remains an outsider to take over from Van der Sar in the summer because of concerns about his ability to handle the job at such a young age.
The search for a replacement for Edwin Van Der Sar goes on.
Yesterday, Manchester United were linked with a move for Liverpool’s Pepe Reina and the day before to Manchester City’s Shay Given.
Today it is Stekelenburg after Manuel Neuer appears to want to sign a new contract with Schalke (prepare to see Neuer re-linked with the club if his agent does not feel negotiations are running as smoothly as he likes).
The problem for Sir Alex Ferguson is that there is no ideal replacement readily available. Gianluigi Buffon seems destined to spend his career at Juventus and Julio Cesar is perfectly happy at Inter Milan.
When Peter Schmeichel left United, Ferguson struggled to replace him and found Mark Bosnich, Tim Howard and Massimo Taibi could not fill the shoes of the Great Dane.
Similar mistake now and Ferguson may not be able to recover.