First, let me start by commending Edwin Van der Sar on a long and illustrious career. Coming through the ranks at Ajax, he won countless number of trophies including the Champions League during the very successful 1990s Louis van Gaal years. Moving to Juventus he won the UEFA Intertoto Cup and repeated that feat at Fulham in 2002 before finally completing his move to Manchester United. At United he has won every club based trophy including the 2008-2009 Champions League title in which he saved the last penalty in a tense shoot-out. And the FIFA Club World Cup. The thing that sets him apart from his peers though is his first-class professionalism, reliability and consistency.
Van der Sar was and is the natural successor to Man United’s other talismanic goalkeeper; Peter Schmeichel. The fact he went to Fulham instead of Old Trafford is a mystery in itself. But he did, and Man United were left desperately trying to replace him with a long line of mistake-riddled keepers, á lá Fabian Barthez and Roy Carroll. And you can get the latest odds on the next Man Utd through online betting from BetUS.
As the end of the Premiership season draws ever nearer, the need for a successor to Van der Sar quickens pace. I’m sure every fan would want the right man identified as quickly as possibly instead of another Schmeichel situation occurring; goalkeeper after goalkeeper after goalkeeper, wrong man after wrong man after wrong man.
Who will it be though? Who is good enough to fill the shoes of Van der Sar both in quality and mentality? Will it be a keeper from within the squad or someone from without? These are questions that need to be addressed as a good goalkeeper keeps their teams in matches and wins them points. Look at Cech at Chelsea, Hart at Manchester City, Reina at Liverpool and Gomes at Tottenham. Even Arsenal have looked like they have found their number one goalkeeper for many a year in Wojciech Szczesny.
One possibility is Danish keeper Anders Lindegaard, already at the club. He has been touted as the new Peter Schmeichel but possibly only because they come from the same country. Time will tell for him, he’s 26 and is just starting his Manchester United career though Schmeichel has said he is not good enough — he was replaced at Danish club Odense by Roy Carroll!
My money would be on Germany and Shalke number one, Manuel Neuer whom I believe to be the best goalkeeper in the world at the moment. You just have to watch his performances this season for a lacklustre Schalke side to see how good he is. He has kept them in matches and given confidence to his players to go on and win matches. Neuer has improved drastically within the last few years so much so that he’s Germany’s mainstay goalkeeper. He commands his area well, is a brilliant shotstopper and is agile. His positional sense has also improved two-fold. At 24, he is still young in goalkeeping terms and will keep on improving and is a worthy successor to Edwin Van der Sar.
If anything does come from it though, expect interest from Bayern Munich. The Bayern board of directors were very interested in him before van Gaal promoted Robert Kraft to number one. But with van Gaal leaving in the summer, they might just renew their interest in him.
It remains to be seen whether Manuel Neuer will be receptive of a move to Old Trafford but with Schalke in turmoil and unrest from Neuer himself, this just might be on the cards in the summer. One things for sure though. Man United fans don’t want to wait another six years before a replacement is found.
Who do you think should fill Van der Sar’s shoes when the Dutchman leaves at the end of the season? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.