Belfast Telegraph

Neuer would be perfect for Manchester United, says Schmeichel

Manuel Neuer would be the perfect replacement for Edwin van der Sar at Manchester United, according to Peter Schmeichel.

The Schalke goalkeeper, who excelled in Tuesday night's Champions League semi-final first leg, is expected to move to Bayern Munich in the summer, but negotiations between the clubs have yet to begin.

Bayern president Uli Hoeness insisted yesterday his club would not pay through the nose for the Germany international.

Ferguson, who hailed Neuer's display as United won the first leg in Gelsenkirchen 2-0 as the best goalkeeping performance against the club since he became manager, is looking for a successor to Van der Saar with the veteran Dutchman retiring at the end of the season.

“He (Neuer) is probably the best goalkeeper in the world,” Schmeichel, a member of United's treble-winning team of 1999, said. “He is 25 years of age. He's been captain for that team for a number of years. He is very mature in the way he plays.

“He doesn't make mistakes — I haven't seen him make a single mistake — and the way he played, he wasn't lucky in the way that he saved the shots and one-on-ones, it was very calculated.

“I just thought his overall game was fantastic and absolutely well-suited for Manchester United.”

Neuer is set to leave the Veltins-Arena this summer, having confirmed he will not be signing an extension to his contract which expires in 2012.

Munich is thought to be his preferred destination, and Hoeness confirmed talks will start imminently.

“We have up until now not had any negotiations,” he said. “That will now be addressed. We want Manuel, and where there's a will there's a way. But Schalke cannot now demand an astronomical price.” What is likely to count against United is the fact Neuer wants to remain in Germany.

“Manchester United was never an option for me. I will focus now on my performances and my team. All the other things don't matter at the moment,” he said.

But Schmeichel hopes his experience of the atmosphere at Old Trafford next week might prompt a rethink. He added: “If Alex Ferguson comes over to you and says, 'Listen, I want you to play for my team', it's very difficult not to say 'yes'.”

Belfast Telegraph


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