The 40-year-old former Holland goalkeeper has announced that he will walk away from Old Trafford in May bringing an end to an illustrious 21-year playing career.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is keen to avoid a repeat of the mistakes he made when Peter Schmeichel left the club in 1999 and has set his sights on Germany international Neuer to join this summer from Schalke as a proven replacement.
Walking away: Edwin van der Sar has announced he will retire at the end of the season
The 24-year-old is Ferguson's first choice, ahead of mooted targets David De Gea and Julio Cesar, but United face strong competition from German giants Bayern Munich.
VAN DER SAR FACTFILE 1970: Born Voorhout, Holland, October 29.1990: Makes debut for Ajax, having come through the club's youth system.1992: Wins UEFA Cup with Ajax.1994: Wins first Dutch title with Ajax.1995: Plays key role as Ajax win Champions League, beating AC Milan in final.Also wins Super Cup and Dutch League. Named Europe's Best Goalkeeper by UEFA.1996: Ajax complete hat-trick of Dutch League titles - but lose Champions League crown to Juventus in a penalty shoot-out. Holland suffer miserable European Championship campaign in England, with van der Sar in goal during 4-1 loss to at Wembley.1997: Ajax finish fourth in league - 16 points behind champions PSV Eindhoven - in a season which again sees van der Sar a fixture between the posts.1998: Ajax win league title again, van der Sar capping another season of success with a penalty in 8-1 drubbing of De Graafschap in penultimate match.Van der Sar helps Holland to World Cup semi-final where they are beaten by Brazil on penalties.1999: After winning a host of honours with Ajax - who finish a disappointing sixth in the Dutch championship - completes move to Juventus, becoming the first non-Italian goalkeeper in the club's history.2000: Makes 32 appearances for Juve but a last-match defeat costs them the title as Lazio pip them at the post. Holland are beaten by Italy in the semi-finals of Euro 2000.2001: Juventus finish runners-up in Serie A.July 31 - Signs four-year contract with Premiership newcomers Fulham.2005: January 25 - Extends contract with Fulham until the summer of 2006.June 5 - Manchester United reach agreement with Fulham, signing him for an undisclosed fee thought to be around £7million.2006: World Cup campaign with Holland ends in second round as they lose 1-0 to Portugal.2007: May - United's attempt to end season with silverware ends as Didier Drogba scores the only goal in extra-time to win the FA Cup for Chelsea.August - Makes three saves to give United a Community Shield penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea.2008: United win Champions League final against Chelsea in Moscow, with Van der Sar making the decisive save in a penalty shoot-out to deny Nicolas Anelka.2009: Sets record of 1,311 minutes without conceding a goal in the Premier League. United lose Champions League final to Barcelona but Van der Sar wins UEFA's Best Goalkeeper award for the second time.2010: January 27 - Announces retirement at end of current season.
Van der Sar moved to Old Trafford from Fulham in 2005 and helped the United to three Premier League titles and Champions League glory in 2008but believes now is the time to hang his gloves up.
'It is now time to pay attention to my family,' Van der Sar told his Dutch management agency website.
Van der Sar had to return to Holland in December 2009 for a short time after his wife Annemarie was rushed into intensive care suffering a brain haemorrhage.
Thankfully, she made a swift recovery but the incident made the goalkeeper consider his future in England.
He said: 'I can not really identify a time when (I decided). Let's just say that it was playing from the moment Anne had her stroke last year.
'She has fought back from it pretty well, so we decided another year in England and thus to stay at Manchester United.
'But once I started the season, I started to think of saying goodbye to gnaw a bit more.
'Donot ask me how or why, but suddenly you know. That was sufficient. My age played no role. I am 40 years, but I still feel fit.
'The time has come for greater attention to my family, although they have never complained.'
Van der Sar, capped a record 130 times by his country, expressed regret that he'd never celebrated international honours.
But he revealed saving Nicolas Anelka's penalty in Moscow to help Manchester United win the Champions League in 2008 was the finest moment of his playing career.
'Finest moment? The Anelka penalty,' he added.
'I'dsay it was my penalty save in the 2008 Champions League final against Chelsea. I have done better saves but it was so decisive.
'Thejoy I experienced afterwards with the guys was so intense that I will never forget. You win the highest prize you as a player and as a club can get. It was great.'
United goalkeeping coach Eric Steele believes Van der Sar will go down alongside former Red Devil Peter Schmeichel as one of the club's greats.
'Edwin will retire at the end of the season,' Steele told Radio Manchester on Wednesday.
'It has been a mutual decision between the manager, the team and Edwin.
'He has been a fantastic servant. I was very lucky. I worked alongside Peter Schmeichel at Villa and I worked with Edwin for two and a half years.
'That penalty save in Moscow has elevated Edwin alongside Peter.'
Hands on: United want Manuel Neuer to replace Van der Sar at the end of the season
Van der Sar admitted it had not been an easy decision but he feels the time is right.