United’s keeper puzzle

Van der Sar retirement forces Ferguson to line up a suitable successor

MANCHESTER UNITED manager Sir Alex Ferguson is facing a summer of upheaval after goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar confirmed he is to retire at the end of the season.

The 40-year-old, who is quitting to spend more time with his family, is one of several veterans in Ferguson’s squad who could bring the curtain down on glittering careers in May. Defender Gary Neville is expected to hang up his boots, while midfielder Paul Scholes is mulling his future.

But Dutchman Van der Sar, whose penalty shoot-out save helped United win the Champions League in 2008, is arguably the biggest loss, and means Ferguson has just six months to identify a successor.

Of the internal candidates, Tomasz Kuszczak has failed to make his mark, the jury is out on newcomer Anders Lindegaard while youngster Ben Amos is rated highly but surely too green for such responsibility. Ferguson is thought more likely to enter the transfer market, with Schalke’s Manuel Neuer and Atletico Madrid’s David de Gea among the favourites to move to Old Trafford.

Ajax stopper Martin Stekelenburg, Van der Sar’s successor in the Holland team, and Russian Igor Akinfeev are also thought to be on United’s radar.


Anders Lindegaard: The Dane landed this month but is yet to make his debut and doubts linger over his pedigree to be No1

David de Gea: Atletico Madrid’s prodigy is just 20 but tipped for the very top and said to have caught Ferguson’s eye

Manuel Neuer: Schalke’s stopper is being tipped to leave the cash-strapped club but Bayern Munich would rival United