Reds keeping options open

April 21, 2011 Tags: , , Reads 24 comments

Anders Lindegaard says he is up for the challenge of becoming Manchester United’s new full-time goalkeeper next season but what kind of competition will the Dane face? With Atletico Madrid’s David De Gea reportedly unsure about a move to England, and Schalke’s Manuel Neuer certain to join Bayern Munich, United’s options in the transfer market are now more limited. It leaves open the prospect that Lindegaard, and not an expensive new recruit, could be Edwin van der Sar’s Old Trafford successor.

Lindegaard, a £3.5 million January purchase from Norwegian club Aalesund , started just two FA Cup games for United before being struck down by a knee injury last month. In the meantime United is stepping up the pursuit of De Gea, for whom the Reds are reportedly prepared to pay the player’s contract buy-out clause of €20 million. However, with the Spaniard apparently reluctant to leave the safe confines of La Liga and the trail now cold on Neuer, United could feasibly shift focus to third-choice Maarten Stekelenburg, or further down the now extensive short-list.

The developments raise the prospect of United failing to secure one of the world’s leading ‘keepers in the wake of van der  Sar’s departure; the mistake the club made in 1999 when Peter Schmeichel retired to the warmer climes of Portugal and the Reds brought in free-transfer Mark Bosnich.

Lindegaard, who has four caps for Denmark, is apparently unconcerned about the potential for competition, with the 27-year-old saying he will prove himself at Old Trafford and aims to become Sir Alex Ferguson’s number one.

“The question is more complex than just a yes or no answer,” said Lindegaard, who underwent a knee operation in March.

“There are many factors to consider but it is, of course a goal. I don’t think about [other ‘keepers coming to the club] that’s not on my table and I can’t say one thing or another about it. The only thing I can do I show myself and prove to everyone that I should be the first-choice ‘keeper.”

Whether Lindegaard is the new van der Sar, or simply replaces the departing Tomasz Kuszack, owes more to United’s purchasing strategy than the player’s talent though. While De Gea is seemingly the club’s first choice, United’s senior management faces a dilemma should Ferguson not claim his man. Seek a less talented alternate or wait, trusting Lindegaard to hold the fort.

Meanwhile, there is no little irony in United’s fixture with Schalke next week. Neuer’s team has found form under new coach Ralf Ranglick, although there is no chance the 24-year old will remain in Gelsenkirchen next season. Indeed, with the news leaking out Bayern supporters jeered their new player this weekend, holding aloft banners proclaiming “No Neuer” during the side’s German cup fixture. There is, after all, no love lost between Neuer’s current and future clubs.

“I wanted to be honest and explain my decision,” a visibly upset Neuer told reporters in Gelsenkirchen. “I want to develop further and take a new big step in my career.”

That Bayern had let news of Neuer’s capture known in ‘FC Hollywood’s’ typical less-than-subtle manner forced the 24-year-old’s hand.

There are alternatives though, not least the talented Rene Adler, who is so desperate for a move to United that the 26-year-old apparently has an Old Trafford exit clause in his contract. Or perhaps Udinese‘s Slovenian Samir Handanović, who has impressed in Serie A this season, or Raul Patricio the Portugal number one whom Sporting Lisbon seem only to happy to sell. The list of tabloid reportage on supposed targets is, as always, lengthy.

Yet the question remains, if De Gea is United’s first choice, will the club settle for second best? Indeed, should it? The answer may not be to Lindegaard’s liking, although as the Dane says – it’s ‘not on his table.’

Stoppers on the Reds’ list

David de Gea, 20, Atletico Madrid – the Spanish under-21 international is unsure about whether to leave his home town club, while the club has demanded he commit his future to Atletico or leave. May yet conceivably sign a new deal at the Vincente Calderon rather than move abroad at a tender age.

Manuel Neuer, 24, Schalke – declared his future is already decided, with Bayern director Uli Hoeness’ less-than-subtle brag this week pointing the way to a €21 million move to southern Germany.

Maarten Stekelenburg, 28, Ajax – the Dutch international is available and willing but do United’s scouts rate the World Cup finalist? Although United coach Rene Muelenstein reportedly said the giant Ajax stopper is the club’s “first choice” it appears to be a smokescreen.

Igor Akinfeev, 24, CSKA Moscow – apparently unimpressed with the Russian’s stature, United’s gaze wondered away from the talented youngster some time ago.

Hugo Lloris, 27, Olympique Lyonnais – French World Cup ‘keeper Lloris has consistently impressed in the Champions League but would come with a heavy price tag. United is a very unlikely buyer.

Samir Handanović, 26, Udinese – Slovenian of Bosnian decent, Handanović’s slow burning career now seems ready for the big time. Not a big name, but available at a reasonable price.

Rui Patrício, 23, Sporting Lisbon – brilliant but raw, Sporting will happily cash in on the player who has only recently made the Portugal national team but missed out on the World Cup.

Rene Adler, 26, Bayer Leverkusen – openly seeking a move to Old Trafford according to reports but United will only move for the German international if other options fall through.


Bill - April 21, 2011 Reply

De Gea is obviously the 1st choice, but if he decides to stay Stekelenburg should be the man to buy. His is very similar to VDS in style of play and background so should fit in quickly as well as be mentored from a distance by Edwin. MS would cost 10 mill with his contract expiring in 2012, so would fit united’s budgets. If his form dipped Lindegaard would push him for a place in the side.

squigels - April 21, 2011 Reply

Lloris is 24 not 27 but apart from that very good post/article

Calvino - April 21, 2011 Reply

Can’t stand Lloris. The most overrated keeper since that clown Barthez. Stekelenburg will be my first choice. He is 28, has played in a world cup final and is Holland’s first choice so really it is a no brainer. This is Manchester United. We can not afford any young keepers at all. He is also tall enough to deal with crosses and playing for Holland has given him the experience we need.

dalegute - April 21, 2011 Reply

Just to let you know..

The club Lindegaard came from is called Aalesund, not Aaselunds.

squigels - April 21, 2011 Reply

Stenkelburg is only there as there is no good dutch keepers about after EvDS retirement form International football. He is an average keeper.

Bill - April 21, 2011 Reply

De Gea might be the answer if we use Lindegaard quite heavily too early on.

What we need is somebody to come in and do the basics well and not make any really bad errors.

It comes down to S’burg or De Gea, the rest are pretty much counted out. If De Gea wants to stay in Madrid S’burg will come.

The 3rd scenario which hasn’t been mentioned is the PIG staying and fighting for the no 1 slot with Lindegaard.

The PIG doesn’t quite look United class but he has plenty of experience in a Red shirt and has been ok when he’s come in.

uncleknobheadforfucksake - April 21, 2011 Reply

we’re not really keeping our options open tho are we, its pretty clear who we want

Alfonso Bedoya - April 21, 2011 Reply

uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
we’re not really keeping our options open tho are we, its pretty clear who we want

Is it?

It’s not clear to me, that we’re after anyone at all.

If we really wanted De Gea… we’d pay what it costs, offer him the right wages, and sign him… simple… you can’t tell me, he’d prefer to stay where he is, than make more money and be number one, for United.

We’ve been here before… playing silly fuckers during negotiations with a so called United target…

Makes me wonder if this isn’t just a sly tactic, to make fans think we’re doing business, when in fact we have no intentions of pursuing these players.

I’ll believe it when the players got the shirt on, and shaking Fergies hand.

vlad - April 24, 2011 Reply

> he’d prefer to stay where he is

Does De Gea not have a greedy agent??
Should deffo grab him then.
And he plays for Atletico so hopefully does not dream of Real.

> Makes me wonder if this isn’t just a sly tactic
yes it might be the no-value-in-the-market stuff, but this kind of tactics has been here before Glazers tbf. Remember Ronaldinho saga?

eddieTheRed - April 21, 2011 Reply

Goalkeeper is the one position where the new guy is given no time to settle in – you either start well and continue well or you don’t last.

If there is a decent budget for a keeper we should go for de Gea. Otherwise, it’s either Stekelenburg or Adler; I must say I like the confidence these Dutch and German players project; there’s not a trace of self – doubt in their charachter!

ltel - April 21, 2011 Reply

whats the crack with buffons contract? is he staying or going. cus he would be my choice. perfect age to step in

bman - April 21, 2011 Reply

It’s De Gea. He’s just putting up a show of reluctance for the benefit of his current club’s supporters, and to wrangle a better deal from United.

ghost - April 21, 2011 Reply

It probably won’t be any of those listed. PIG and Lindegaard will fight for the starting place. Or maybe Bebe has a cousin? Who knows.

All of those keepers, imo, the Germans are the top choice, and Neuer is staying in Germany. Adler is as good as the others, and he actually doesn’t have multiple dream clubs he’d like to play for.

baggio365 - April 22, 2011 Reply

if adler really has a realease clause to join us, then i say get him. we need people committed to the club. he’s not a bad player. maybe not as naturally talented as some of the others mentioned, but i’d rather have someone who would die for the shirt, and clearly he would give anything to play for us

sukhy5 - April 22, 2011 Reply

Was Adler 1st choice for Germany before the WC 2010? He got injured then Neuer stepped in.

Spike / Robbo how good is Adler?

Bill - April 22, 2011 Reply

Psychological strength is key to make it as a keeper at OT so Eddie’s comment is spot on, the Dutch and Germans are rarely lacking in self confidence.

Spudiator - April 22, 2011 Reply

Partially true Bill, but it’s as much about calm and composure. Barthez was self confident, but he lacked the calm not to try and be a cocky smart-arse, which backfired on him all too often.

captainhormone - April 22, 2011 Reply

Blog Commenter said:
Just to let you know..

The club Lindegaard came from is called Aalesund, not Aaselunds.

fair fucks pedant cunt

Bill - April 22, 2011 Reply

Barthez was the best keeper we had in between Schmeichel and VDS. He should probably get more credit. However the Frenchies always have the element of artist craziness in them and that’s no good for a keeper.

sukhy5 - April 23, 2011 Reply

Barthez was a clown.

But he was solid for the 02/03 campaign…until Fat Ronaldo fucked him up at OT.

vlad - April 24, 2011 Reply

Barthez was a fun to watch.
Still got his poster at my parent’ home.

Somewhat hated him though before he joined us tbh.

Bill - April 24, 2011 Reply

Barthez won the world cup, the champions league, the premier league twice, the french league twice and was voted best keeper in europe twice. Hardly the credentials of a clown! As I say he was the best we had in between PS and VDS.

Spudiator - April 24, 2011 Reply

What’s the obsession with the initials, Bill? Why not just call him Schmeichel or Schmikes? In this instance it’s obvious who you mean, but I’ve seen loads of your replies where you ream off long lists of players just by initials ans then I have to fuck about for ages working out who you’re talking about!

Bill - April 24, 2011 Reply

Just easier than typing the names out. Sometimes though its a case of the spelling though especially that Ajax keeper!!!! Will always remember Schmeichel correctly though with him being my all time fav keeper and that I’m part Danish!!

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