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Transfer targets: Goalkeepers

There has been a lot of speculation in recent weeks around various targets for the club in the summer. From Charlie Adam to Van Der Vaart One thing is clear from our away performances this season we need a creative force in midfield. With Van Der Sar’s impending retirement a top goalkeeper has to be of equal necessity.

These two positions can be identified without requiring a degree, it is of no surprise therefore that Manchester United are being linked with every potentially available player in that position. United fans will be used to this, although it makes a change in being linked with players rather than players at the club being linked with others. To this degree, we know to take every “exclusive” and “close sources” with more than your recommended daily intake of salt.

However, let us theorise for a moment, if such rumours were true, what are the individual merits and drawbacks of each player? Each signing will then be given a ‘Probability of happening’ score. This will be based on various criteria, including price, age, current club, newspaper the story was reported by (Anything reported by Neil Custis or Oliver Colt, is immediately dismissed) and the position of the player.

 

Starting from the back and moving forward in terms of player position. Man Utd have been linked with every keeper and their dog since Van Der Sar confirmed his plans for retirement.

 

Earlier this week there were strong rumours in the Spanish press that Man Utd had reached an agreement with Athletico Madrid for the transfer of David De Gea. Latest reports suggest United’s initial fee of £17.5m was rejected, although the keepers agent just confirmed that the buy out clause is 20m euros (£17.5) mand that it hasn't been met. This suggests United offered closer to 15m in all likelihood.

 

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The player is young, only 20. Despite less than 100 games for Los Colchoneros he has already won the Europa League with Athletico and the UEFA Super Cup. The downside is that, as many clubs have seen Spanish players have a tendency to desire a move back to their homeland when Real Madrid or Barcelona come calling. The argument against that, in this particular case, is that Athletico was De oodGea’s boyhood club and he’s gone as far as he could reasonably be deemed to have gone. The Glazer’s argument will also be that he’s young enough to return a good return if he were to request a move in 5 or 6 years time. Another drawback is his limited experience at international level with Casillas ahead of him for the Spanish team.

 

Strong rumours and Fergie was photographed alongside goalkeeper coach Eric Steele at one Athletico match. With the club owing reportedly owing between €250-300 million several players are rumoured to be lined up for the exit. Multiple sources add strength to this rumour. Likelihood rating: 85%.

 

Other potential goalkeeper targets:

stekelenburgMartin Stekelnburg, one of the first goalkeepers to be strongly linked with United. At one point he was top of Man Utd’s target list according to first team coach René Meulensteen. "Stekelenburg is indeed the goalkeeper who is at the top of our wanted list”. At 28 and having played for Holland in a World Cup final Stekelnburg is older and significantly more experienced that other names rumoured. With fellow compatriot Van Der Sar endorsing the 28 year old with a glowing review the player seems a better fit for Edwin’s replacement come next season than the other goalkeepers mentioned. However, rumours have become significantly quieter recently with United’s interest seemingly having waned. Today though the players’ agent confirmed the Dutch shot stopper is looking to move on in the summer, Juventus are considered of interest to the player while Athletico eye him as a potential replacement for De Gea.

Strongly linked at first with quotes to back the rumour up gave it some legs. Rumour appears to have run its course now with other clubs being more strongly linked to the player. Likelihood rating: 75%


NeuerManuel Neuer, the German keeper is another name to have been repeatedly linked to the Red Devils. With one year left on his contract at Schalke he is likely to be a cheaper option to the Spaniard. Schalke chairman Clemens Tonnies claims that “an international agent approached me and informed me that Manchester United are interested in Neuer” , going on to say, “If Manchester United make a written inquiry then we will deal with it." What seems to be a potential stumbling block is his desire to remain in Germany and win the Bundesliga. With Bayern Munich admitting to be tracking the keeper, it seems unlikely United would be is top destination.

Said to be goalkeeping coach Eric Steele’s first choice, he is young but with more experience than De Gea. The story has been reported in more than just Tabloids but although there doesn’t appear to be a clear reason why except perhaps is desire to remain in Germany he appears to be third choice behind De Gea and Stekelnburg. Likelihood rating: 70%


Gianluigi Buffon, an outsider but still someone who has been considered. The Italian is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers to have graced the game but now 33 and injuries taking their toll the greatest question is how many more years he has left. The experience he possesses is unparalleled and his command of the penalty area and defence is second to none. Yet with a reoccurring back injury, United and Ferdinand are only too familiar with, there can be no guarantee over his fitness or longevity in the game. He is currently being linked to Arsenal although were he to join Manchester United he could be an invaluable tutor to younger keepers at the club.

This rumour has not made it further than a number of tabloids and his injury history would make this deal unlikely. Likelihood rating: 40%


Pepe Reina, if we’re talking outsiders then the Scousers selling their goalkeeper and one of their top players to Manchester United would rank as strongly unlikely to say the least. Despite that in interviews the Spaniard has refused to rule out a move to Manchester United and with a wealth of experience and a Champions League winners medal his CV matches the requirements.

The mere fact he plays for Liverpool makes this a non-starter, miracles do happen though. Likelihood rating: 25%

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