Club Focus – Manchester United – Scouting for van der Sar replacement intensifies and De Rossi eyes Old Trafford switch

Despite support continuing to grow amongst fans and staff for Edwin van der Sar to remain a Manchester United player for one more season, the Dutchman is standing by his decision to hang up his gloves at the end of the current campaign.

It means that the club will almost certainly have to find a replacement, with Tomasz Kuszczak linked with a move to Galatasaray and Anders Lindegaard expected to be an understudy to whoever replaces van der Sar. Two of the goalkeepers linked with the club went head to head and under the microscope in the aforementioned match in Germany last weekend, and amongst the 30,210 spectators that saw Bayer Leverkusen defeat Schalke 2-0 at the BayArena on Sunday was Manchester United goalkeeping coach Eric Steele.

Rene Adler and Manuel Neuer have both been suggested as potential replacements for van der Sar and have been watched by United on numerous occasions throughout the season. Earlier in the year Schalke claimed that United were extremely interested in Neuer, in what was initially thought to be an exercise in raising the player’s sale price after a speculated move to Bayern Munich seemed destined. Since then however it has been highlighted that Bayern fans would oppose Neuer’s arrival because of on-field behaviour that saw the stopper goad supporters and mock Bayern legend Oliver Kahn at the Allianz Arena a few years ago.

Adler has recently been in discussions over an improved deal at Leverkusen, but the club have admitted it would be impossible for them to stand in the player’s way if United came calling. The goalkeeper has admitted previously to being a big Manchester United fan and even has a clause in his contract that states should United ever bid for him he would be free to talk to the club. Adler was due to be Germany’s first-choice goalkeeper at the World Cup before injury saw him ruled out of the tournament and replaced by Neuer, who has kept the position ahead of Adler since his return to fitness.

Roma’s Daniele De Rossi’s representatives have stated that their client sees Manchester United as his ideal destination if he was to leave the club at the end of the season. Off-field issues have seen relations between the midfielder and the Giallorossi break down, and the 27-year-old is looking for a fresh start. The player’s valuation is believed to be around £18m, which would prove a stumbling block because of the United owner’s transfer policy – which states that a player must have a high re-sale value, and given the crippling debt and need for a top-quality goalkeeper it is unlikely United will spend that amount of money on a player which they consider the ‘wrong-side’ of 26.

A player who apparently does have a re-sale value is Chilean youngster Angelo Henriquez. United have supposedly agreed terms in the region of £3m with his club Universidad de Chile after the striker impressed at the South American Under-17 Championship.

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