Manchester United’s first-team coach Rene Meulensteen confirmed Ajax goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg is the club’s first-choice candidate to replace Edwin van der Sar next season.
Van der Sar has announced he will retire at the end of the season and Sir Alex Ferguson has been actively seeking potential transfers to fill the gap which will be left by the 40-year-old.
Reports suggest United already have three targets who can immediately become the number one at Old Trafford - those being Stekelenburg, Schalke’s Manuel Neuer and David de Gea, the Atletico Madrid stopper.
But Meulensteen has revealed their prime target is the Dutchman, who will only have a year left on his contract in the summer, which will prevent Ajax from inflating his valuation.
“Stekelenburg is indeed the ‘keeper who is at the top of our wanted list,” Meulensteen said.
“We naturally talk a lot among ourselves about who should replace Van der Sar. Alex Ferguson has spoken about Stekelenburg with Edwin and that does not seem strange to me at all.”
United’s assistant manager, Mike Phelan, has also revealed the club are keeping tabs on Sporting Lisbon’s 22-year-old goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
“He’s a young ‘keeper with enormous potential — we’ve known Rui Patricio for a long time and we’ve also played against him a few times,” Phelan said.
“The only thing I can confirm is that we haven’t made any offer.”