A week ago it was reported that Alex Ferguson and his coaching staff were concerned about Ben Fosterâ€™s early season form and whether in the long term he has the ability to become the clubâ€™s successor to Edwin van der Sar.
We brought you evidence last week of Igor Akinfeev, CSKA Moscowâ€™s goalkeeper who allegedly was being monitored by Manchester Unitedâ€™s scouts. Well, there seems to be more smoke this week with the Red Devils this time being linked with Manuel Neuer of Schalke.
The 23-year-old guardian has been at Schalke from a young age and worked his way up through the academy and reserves until he became first choice keeper midway though the 2006-2007 season.
He has all the attributes to become one of the worldâ€™s best goalkeepers. Neuer possess excellent positional sense coupled with tremendous reflexes. His aerial ability is outstanding and he is comfortable with the high ball as well as showing extreme bravery in one-on-one situations.
However, his form last year was erratic lurching from the sublime to the ridiculous, although this lack of consistency is somewhat mitigated by his relatively young age and lack of experience. One of the outstanding games that he had was against FC Porto in the Champions League last season where he made a string of unbelievable saves to keep the Portuguese team at bay. The tie went to penalties where he saved two to help Schalke to the quarter finals (see here).
The 6ft 3 inch goalkeeper is beginning to break through Germanyâ€™s international squad and made his debut for the senior team this past closed season.
Neuer is definitely up for sale; his club admitted that if his Â£15 million valuation is met he will be on his way to a new club. Bayern Munich flirted with purchasing the young keeper during the summer but did not meet Scaleâ€™s asking price. The Bavarian club have claimed that they will not make a move for him during the winter, leaving the way clear for United to make a bid. Of the two keepers that the Manchester club have been linked Neuer is by far the better. Foster beware.
Video evidence of Manuel Neuer can be seen here.