Manchester United are chasing the Schalke 04 and Germany international goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, according to the Bundesliga clubs Chairman, Clemens Tonnies.
Sir Alex Ferguson is known to be actively scouring Europe for a replacement for Edwin Van der Sar, the current United number one who will retire at the end of the season, and has been linked with quite a cast list. Names include that of Liverpool shot-stopper Pepe Reina, Atletico Madrid’s highly-rated young ‘keeper David De Gea and Neuer’s main challenger for the number one shirt with the German national team, Bayer Leverkusen’s Rene Adler.
However, Neuer, who kept goal for Germany during the World Cup in South Africa last summer, is seen as one of the best goalkeeper’s currently plying their trade in Europe and at the age of 24 is still improving and developing.
Tonnies told the Bild newspaper: “An international agent approached me and informed me that Manchester United are interested in Neuer. If Manchester United make a written inquiry then we will deal with it.”
The 16-cap ‘keeper is currently the captain of Schalke, but has expressed frustration at how his side are performing in the Bundesliga this season – they currently sit 10th, despite having the second best defence in the league – and whilst his contract expires in July 2012, he has yet to show any interest in penning a new deal at the Veltins Arena.
Should United press ahead with a move for Neuer, they can expect to face stiff competition from Bundesliga powerhouses Bayern Munich, who are also in the market for a new goalkeeper, and Louis Van Gaal, the current Bayern manager, is known to be a big admirer.
Van Gaal has lost faith in Bayern’s experienced ‘keeper Hans-Jorg Butt, after a series of injuries and error-strewn performances, and whilst young stopper Thomas Kraft is talented, he is very inexperienced. Furthermore, both players contracts end in Bavaria at the climax of the current campaign.
The Dutchman, who guided Bayern to a domestic double and the Champions League final last season, recently told Bild: “I think we could do with Manuel Neuer. “