The ongoing Edwin van der Saar saga shows no sign of abating, the quality stopper will hang up his gloves this Summer and understandably Sir Alex Ferguson will not want to make a hash of replacing him like he did when it came to finding someone to fill the massive boots of Peter Schmeichel.
In previous weeks Manchester United have been linked to some of the top keepers in Europe and now there is another that you can add to the list, or should that be, one they were linked with ages ago who they will once again assess. That man is recent opponent, Marseille keeper Steve Mandanda.
Mandanda was born in the Congo but moved to France, and he began his career with La Havre, making his debut in 2005 when he was 20. He was the clubs first choice keeper for two seasons by which time he was being noticed around Europe, he was also being called up to the French under 21 side after decided to represent them rather than his native country. Prior to the 2007-2008 season, Mandanda had a trial with Aston Villa who decided to not move for the keeper (well done on that decision!), so instead he moved to Marseille and he has remained there ever since.
The keeper has been extremely successful throughout his time with the club and he is now their captain, and is thought generally reluctant to leave the side. During his time with the club he has been linked to numerous other sides including Manchester City, AC Milan and Manchester United who are now renewing that interest.
At 25, Mandanda is a good age for a goalkeeper, noted for his excellent reflexes and shot stopping, he has the potential to develop into an even better stopper than he already is. Whilst his kicking and distribution may not be the best he is at an age where that can still be improved.
United have looked at a string of keepers to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself, Rene Adler, Hugo Lloris, Manuel Neuer, Maarten Stekelenburg, Pepe Reina and David De Gea have all been added to the extensive list of goalkeepers that Sir Alex believes will help move the club forward, well it now appears that we can add Mandanda to that list as well.
In many ways I believe that Neuer or Adler would be the best choices for United, but there is not really any keeper in the mix that I believe would let the Old Trafford side down. Mandanda is clearly well thought of at the Stade Velodrome, and Marseille would be extremely reluctant to sell, the keeper though is known to be particularly ambitious and whether he could resist the temptation and pull of playing for one of the top clubs in Europe remains to be seen.
For more of my thoughts on football and bits of rabid transfer mongering, follow me on twitter @soccercityjoe!
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