Van der Sar hints at retirement

Edwin Van der Sar is ready to retire at the end of the season.

But the United keeper has set his sights on winning the FA Cup before he quits Old Trafford.

The Dutch ace turns 40 this month and, although the Reds are likely to offer him another 12-month deal, he has indicated this will be his last campaign with United.

"I think Ed has made his mind up and said this is his last year," said Reds goalkeeping coach Eric Steele.

"He is a good pro and a sensible and highly intelligent guy who will know when the time is right. I donít think he will need myself or the manager to tell him that time has come. He will know."

Having won the Champions League, three Premier League titles, the Carling Cup and the Fifa Club World Cup since joining United from Fulham in 2005, the only domestic medal missing is the FA Cup.

And, despite the famous old trophy being third on the Redsí priority list this season, Steele says a Wembley triumph on May 14 is Van der Sarís dream.

"He hasnít won it and that is a big target for him," said Steele. "He has won most things in the game, there is not much left he hasnít.

"When we rotate our goalkeepers I think you will see Mr Van der Sar knocking on the door and asking the boss to play in the FA Cup."

Steele, whose job it is to find a replacement for Van der Sar, would be keen to see the Reds No.1 prolong his career for another season.

"I think we need him because this team is in transition at the moment," he said.

"If he gets to Christmas and he thinks it is right to go on and the manager thinks it is right we will make a decision.

"It is down to how he feels and performs. If he doesnít perform the manager will make the decision. Edwin will as well."

Date Published: 7 October 2010

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If only we'd got VDS in 1999! Superb servant to the club. Hopefully see him back at the club in some capacity after his year off. Right...possible replacements: Ideally I'd take De Gea, but with a couple more years of experience. That would mean a stop gap for now and all the problems that would entail; so I don't expect Fergie is thinking along these lines. Personally I can't see too many keepers that would fit the bill that aren't either very close to retirement or very settled at their respective clubs. Therefore we are probably looking at a narrow selection of players with champions league/international/or lots of domestic football under their belt, aged about 24-30 and from a club likely to sell. Furthermore I don't see us buying from out-with the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Bundesliga and possibly from top teams in the Netherlands, Portugal or Russia. (Did I hear someone say Scotland?... Allan McGregor...god forbid) Basically if he's going to be out #1, rightly or wrongly, he'll be a relatively big name. Big reputations/familiar names? Premier League: Reina...the papers seem to love this non story, it wont happen. Friedel is too old. Jaaskelainen, Schwarzer also too old. England's numbers 2 to 5 Robert Green.......Ben Foster.....Scott Carson.....Paul Robinson...hmmm. T-Ho back from Everton for 2 yrs, probably best option within England. So the Premiership is an unlikely source. France: Only two real candidates. Not sure we'd be willing to pay Lyon over £20 million for Lloris, who looks like he'll be a top keeper for a long time, despite a few mistakes recently. Marseilles' Steve Mandanda's name has been mentioned, incredible athlete and shot stopper but erratic; we'll get a closer look soon The German options, Neuer and Adler, begin to look "good value" in comparison, but i'm still not sold on either of them after watching quite a bit of Bundesliga in last couple of seasons. Adler in particular a bit of a flapper on crosses. Serie A, all I know is Buffon is still their national team keeper, is getting on a bit and is unlikely to want to up sticks and move to Manchester. Fiorentinas Sebastian Frey... no no no no no thank you. French, nutter, Punches everything..sound familiar. Julio Cesar at Inter is a good keeper but would command a big fee and need time to settle. Russia: That'll be Akinfeev then. Reminds me of Shay Given. Solid, occasional blip. But the papers will focus on his "lack of height" and there isn't a great history of Russians adapting quickly to the Premier League. Netherlands: Stekelenburg. Despite a good world cup there is a reason Edwin came out of international retirement about 3 times. Portugal: Erm, No likely candidates there. Spain: Cassilas isn't going anywhere. Nor Valdes, who i wouldn't want anyway. I like the look of Villareal's Diego Lopez but he's not a big enough name to avoid a media frenzy [i:3lre0u7i]a la[/i:3lre0u7i] Taibi. This brings me back to De Gea. Ticks all of the boxes...except experience. Personally i'd take a punt on him. As long as Lindegaard isn't the new Schmeichel that is! New keeper is such a crucial decision. Interesting summer ahead.

- Bragg

In a way I'm glad he's going out at the top of his game, as sad as I will be to see him go! World class keeper and seemingly a genuinely decent bloke. I think Scrabble will go too and a big (ish) name come in. Akinfeev or Neuer more likely than De Gea I think. The boss said recently he'd learned from his mistakes when Schmeichel left I think so experience has got to be key?

- Jonesy

It took us a long time to fill Schmeichel's gloves and you do kind of worry that when Van der Sar decides to call it a day we'll have the same problem (assuming that Kuszczak won't take over the number 1 shirt).

- Dave