‘Summer’s most wanted’ – Manuel Neuer

The 23 year-old Germany international is under contract with Budesliga club Schalke 04 until 2012, however, Manuel Neuer has been heavily linked with a move away from his home town club. Prior to the January transfer window, Manchester United were said to be interested in taking the German stopper to Old Trafford as a replacement for Edwin Van Der Sar. Whilst the move didn’t come to fruition, this summer could see Ferguson make a renewed effort to sign Neuer.

Neuer has already made more than 100 appearances for Schalke, whilst also earning 2 caps for his country. He has a German League Cup winners medal (2005) and was an integral part of the German U21 team that won the 2009 European U21 football championships in Sweden. His individual honours include Bundesliga goalkeeper of the year (2007), best UEFA Champions League goalkeeper (2008) and best goalkeeper of the UEFA European Under-21 Championships (2009).

After reported interest from Manchester United, Neuer’s agent Thomas Kroth told Sport Bild:

“I have heard of interest from Manchester United, we know about that.”

However, Schalke’s boss Felix Magath told the same German newspaper:

‘If a player wants away and sees a better future somewhere else, then I sit down with them at a table.’

The Daily Mail suggested in January that Neuer may have an £18m release clause in his contract, and following Ben Foster and Tomasz Kuszczak’s inability to challenge the aging Edwin Van der Sar for the number one spot, Ferguson may hope to lure Neuer to Old Trafford. However, Ferguson values the German youngster at £12m, and the fee may prove to be a stumbling block to any move.

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In November 2009 Schalke received a £23m investment from the city of Gelsenkirchen via the city’s energy provider GEW. However, their finances are known to be precariously balanced, and so there is a possibility the German’s will cash in on their young starlet.

Despite rumours surrounding his future, Neuer, who has also attracted interest from Bayern Munich, has pledged to stay at Schalke if they finish in a Champions League place this season.

“I have a contract here until 2012,” Neuer told Bild on Sunday.

“If we reach the Champions League, I will stand in Schalke’s goal next season.

“Even if some people might not believe me, I do not pay attention to what happens at Bayern or Manchester United.”

Schalke currently occupy 3rd in the Bundesliga, the last UEFA Champions League qualifying place. However, whether or not Schalke secure qualification for the Champions League this season, there will be no shortage suitors for the German’s signature.

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