Tag Goalkeepers

Tag Goalkeepers

Fergie’s ‘keepers: good, bad and ugly

Ed June 27, 2011 Tags: Shorts 30 comments

David de Gea completed a medical in Manchester today ahead of a €20 million transfer but Sir Alex Ferguson has not always been successful when it comes to recruiting goalkeepers. From calamitous Jim Leighton, to ‘Two’ Andy Gorams, via Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar, Rant reviews ten of the best and worst Fergie ‘keepers.

 

  • Jim Leighton 1988-1991
    Scotsman Leighton joined from Ferguson’s old haunt at Aberdeen but failed to live up to the big reputation. The international was ignominiously dropped by Ferguson following a calamitous display during the 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace in the 1990 FA Cup Final.

  • Mark Bosnich 1989–1992, 1999–2001
    Cocaine loving Australian Bosnich spent two periods at Old Trafford, neither successful. First joining as a trainee in the late 1980s before leaving for Aston Villa, Bosnich then re-joined United at Chairman Martin Edward’s behest in 1999.

  • Les Sealey 1990–1991, 1993–1994
    Sealey came to prominence during the 1990 FA Cup Final replay, going on to ‘keep for the club during United’s successful Cup Winners’ Cup campaign the following season. Returned as an understudy to Schmeichel in 1993. Died in 2001

  • Peter Schmeichel 1992-1999
    Surely the best goalkeeper to have ever played for the club. Schmeichel played eight glorious seasons at Old Trafford, lifting the Champions League before semi-retiring to Portugal in summer 1999.

  • Massimo Taibi 1999–2000
    Italian Taibi joined United for £4.5 million following Schmeichel’s departure but played just five games for the club following a calamitous error against Southampton. The ‘keeper allowed a Matt Le Tissier shot through his legs and with that went his United career.

  • Fabien Barthez 2000–2004
    The French international joined a great expense and offered brilliance and errors in almost equal measure. Played nearly 150 games for the club before Ferguson lost patience and loaned the ‘keeper to Marseille.

  • Roy Carroll 2001-2005
    Ulsterman Carroll joined United as a promising youngster but failed to fulfil the potential during four inconsistent years at Old Trafford. Now playing in Denmark.

  • Andy Goram 2001
    Schizophrenic pie-eating Scotsman Goram inspired one of the finest terrace chant ever, arriving on an emergency loan in 2001, playing just two games for United.

  • Tim Howard 2003-2007
    Tourets Tim enjoyed a fine début season at Old Trafford, being voted into the PFA Team of the Year. But inconsistency and a loss of confidence damaged his promising start before being transferred to Everton in 2007.

  • Edwin van der Sar 2005-2011
    Arguably the second finest ‘keeper in United’s history. The Dutchman arrived at Old Trafford during a dark time for United’s ‘keeping department but has offered a calm authority in six years at Old Trafford. Should have joined in 1999.

  • David de Gea 2011-
    With the world at his feet, talented de Gea faces a critical first season at Old Trafford. Already one of the finest ‘keepers in the world but will face a unique pressure during his début campaign for the club.

Poll: which ‘keeper to replace Edwin?

Ed April 22, 2011 Tags: , , Polls 31 comments

Manchester United seems to have settled on Atletico Madrid’s David De Gea as Edwin van der Sar’s Old Trafford successor. The brilliant but inexperienced 20-year-old Spaniard could arrive this summer for around € 20 million, although the player is reportedly unsure about such a high profile role this early in a fledgling career.

But with German Manuel Neuer opting for a move to Bayern Munich this summer, Tomasz Kuszack likely to leave the club, and Anders Lindegaard untested at the highest level, who should get the role?

Who should replace Edwin van der Sar?

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Reds keeping options open

Ed April 21, 2011 Tags: , , Opinion 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.

Foster completes Brum move but will United buy a replacement?

Ed May 18, 2010 Tags: , Opinion 7 comments

Ben Foster completes a medical this morning as Birmingham City seal a £6 million deal for the Manchester United goalkeeper. Foster, 26, will move to the Midlanders this summer after five largely frustrating years at Old Trafford. The deal includes £4 million up front and a further £2 million dependent on performances and international caps.

Foster, who played 13 times for United last season, began the campaign as Sir Alex Ferguson’s number one but a series of high profile mistakes, including in the derby against Manchester City at Old Trafford, consigned the Leamington-born player to the reserves.

The ‘keeper’s long-term position at the club, despite Ferguson’s promise that the England international would stay, effectively ended when Edwin van der Sar signed a one-year contract extension earlier this year.

Foster will replace Joe Hart at St. Andrews, with the City ‘keeper heading back to Eastlands this summer after a year on loan in Birmingham. It is with no little irony that Hart has replaced Foster in the England set-up as the United stopper’s form dipped during the campaign.

But Foster will leave United with the best wishes of supporters. A fine young ‘keeper, Foster was found out with the pressure finally placed on his shoulders after four years in the reserves or on loan elsewhere.

It hardly helped the Foster that United’s defence suffered so many injuries in the early part of last season, while Ferguson’s promise that the stopper had a long-term role at United was clearly misleading. After all the club accepted the first bid for the player this summer.

With Foster now departed, van der Sar approaching 40 and Tomasz Kuszczak few supporters’ choice as the long-term United number one, Ferguson may move for a new ‘keeper this summer.

The club watched Schalke’s Manuel Neuer, CSKA’s Igor Akinfeev and the brilliant Hugo Lloris of Olympique Lyonnais in the past year.

While many believe Lloris, who had a superb campaign in the Champions League, is the best of the three, Lyon’s notoriously hard-nosed chairman Jean-Michel Aulas ensures that the ‘keeper will command a fee in excess of £15 million.

Olympique Marseille’s French number two Steve Mandanda has also claimed interest from United, although many who have seen the Congolese-born player’s erratic performances over the past five years believe this is true.

Should Ferguson place faith in just van der Sar and Kuszczak – despite using three senior ‘keepers in the past year – one of United’s youth players may step up to the third choice slot.

While Ron-Robert Zieler returns to Germany this summer with Hanover, Ben Amos may return to United after a less than successful loan spell at Norwegian club Molde. Tom Heaton, on loan at Wycombe Wanderers for the past season, will leave the club with his contract finishing in June.

In Ferguson’s tenure at Old Trafford only Kevin Pilkington, with eight appearances, and Mark Bosnich have come through the ranks at the club. Bosnich only took the first team shirt after returning from Aston Villa on a free-transfer during summer 1999.

But Ferguson is keen to avoid the goalkeeping chasm that engulfed the club in Peter Schmeichel’s wake. When the great Dane moved to Portugal and into semi-retirement in 1999, Ferguson went through a string of ‘keepers including Roy Carroll, Tim Howard, Bosnich and the laughably poor Massimo Taibi before settling on van der Sar six years too late.

The ideal scenario sees United recruit a top-class stopper this summer, allowing van der Sar to wind his career slowly down.

In reality the limited transfer budget and even more pressing areas of the team means that the club will seek the best available next summer.