Edwin van der Sar WILL quit United at the end of the season insists Sir Alex Ferguson

23 December 2010 11:01
Sir Alex Ferguson has reiterated his belief that this will be Edwin van der Sar's last season in goal.

The Manchester United boss has already signed Denmark No 1 Anders Lindegaard and is keen on adding another keeper - with Schalke's Manuel Neuer or Atletico Madrid's David de Gea on his short list.

Ferguson admits Van der Sar would be well suited to taking a coaching role at United after hanging up his gloves, but the Holland legend may prefer to return home.

Final fling: Edwin van der Sar will quit Manchester United at the end of the season according to Sir Alex Ferguson

'We are planning for this being his last season,' said Ferguson. 'We have not discussed (a coaching role). But Edwin is a player who would be of interest in terms of his knowledge and standing in the game.'

Van der Sar celebrated his 40th birthday earlier this year yet, apart from one mistake against West Brom in October, has still been performing to his usual high standards.

However, Van der Sar has always been mindful of the potential for a dip in standards and while the player himself has remained silent on the issue, Ferguson has now twice said he is not counting on the Dutchman next season.

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Having stated on numerous occasions his regret at not bringing in Van der Sar as an immediate replacement for Peter Schmeichel when the legendary Dane retired in 1999, Ferguson will want to avoid being similarly exposed this time around.

Both Neuer and De Gea are likely to set the club back more than £15million and Rangers' Allan McGregor has also been scouted as a cheaper alternative.

Schalke currently insist Germany international Neuer is not for sale at all and a £25m price tag has been mooted.

But, also wanted by Bayern, he has hinted at a move and refuses to be pushed into signing a new contract.

'There will be no Christmas present,' the 24-year-old warned fans this week. 'I will not sit down (for contract talks) under pressure.'

Schalke have warned they will take legal action if Neuer has already agreed a secret deal to join Bayern.

Schalke president Clemens Tonnies said: 'If an agreement does exist between Manuel Neuer and Uli Hoeness (the Bayern Munich president), that would be a serious and illegal matter. If that was the case then we would take action.'

Meanwhile, Lindegaard will not be eligible until after the Premier League encounter with Stoke on January 4.

'We can't register him until after the Stoke game because of the Bank Holiday,' said Ferguson.

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'But he is training with us now and that is important. It will bring him to a better level of fitness because he has not played for a few weeks. We will see how his progress goes.'

It means Van der Sar is virtually certain to start the Boxing Day encounter with Sunderland, when United will look to consolidate their position at the top of the table.

Ferguson reported the majority of his squad have shrugged off the effects of flu, which would have ruled Nemanja Vidic and Anderson out of last weekend's trip to Chelsea, if it had not been postponed.

Paul Scholes and John O'Shea are missing due to groin and calf problems respectively as United prepare for a meeting with the Wearsiders, who had the better of a draw at the Stadium of Light earlier this season and are one of the Premier League's most progressive outfits.

'We were lucky to get a point at Sunderland,' said Ferguson. 'It is the hardest game we have had away from home all season.'

As usual, Ferguson will take stock of the league table once all four Festive matches have been completed, although he accepts postponements may make it a difficult task.

'My aim is to try and be the top by January 4. That would be good,' he said. 'If we are, we have done well. By that time, the top of the league will have taken shape, depending on the weather.'

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Source: Daily_Mail

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