Our present goalkeeper strategy seems very sensible. With Edwin van der Sar in his, probably, last season, Ben Foster will be given plenty of opportunities to prove himself. Presumably even at times when Van der Sar is fit. Sir Alex firmly believes that Foster will be England’s first-choice keeper in South Africa next summer, and beyond that the permanent successor to Van der Sar.
I’m not completely convinced by this strategy. Firstly, Foster’s injury problems have been far too frequent to install confidence in him as a reliable long-term solution. Secondly, I’ve been occasionally impressed but also from time to time worried by his performances, e.g in the Community Shield a couple of weeks ago.
Even so there is no need to try to sign a new keeper unless you could identify one with genuine potential to be a long-term solution of the calibre of Casillas or Schmeichel. I belive that such a solution was, perhaps still is, available this summer. I’m referring to 23-year-old Manuel Neuer at Schalke 04. I admit that I haven’t watched him regularly in the Bundesliga, but a number of hugely impressive performances in the European Under-21 Championship this summer convinced me that he should be our next keeper.
The end of the transfer window is fast approaching and a deal this week is unlikely. I fear that the competition for his signature will be very fierce next summer.