Will David De Gea be the man to replace the soon to be retired Edwin van der Sar next season at Old Trafford? (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
With Edwin van der Sar set to retire at season's end, speculation has run rampant on who will replace the Dutchman as Manchester United's No. 1 next season. According to Hector Rincon, the agent for David De Gea, United have held talks over the possible signing of the Atletico Madrid goalkeeper:
"Well, we did have talks with Manchester United but, first of all, they look for an agreement with the club. Anyway, most of the biggest European teams have shown interest in David De Gea."
There has also been speculation as to what the transfer fee or release clause would be if De Gea were to depart from his current club. Rincon addressed some of this as well:
"What I can tell you is that his release clause now is 20-million-Euros, but I have no idea if the club would sell him for less. Right now the player has a contract with Atletico Madrid and if Manchester United or any other team want him, they will have reach an agreement or pay the whole release clause."
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Keep in mind that this doesn't necessarily mean that United have decided on De Gea as the man to replace van der Sar at Old Trafford. However, it does likely indicate serious interest in the 20-year-old keeper. Both Sir Alex Ferguson and goalkeeper coach Eric Steele have traveled to observe De Gea in person this season. Steele has also traveled recently to Germany to scout both Manuel Neuer (Schalke 04) and Rene Adler (Bayer Leverkusen). It's quite possible that United have attempted to gauge the interest of these German 'keepers as well in coming to Old Trafford and also the asking price from their clubs. United have also been linked to Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), and Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow).
By all indications, De Gea has had a very solid season in between the posts for Atletico Madrid. In the season prior, he even helped his side win the Europa League. He's scouted to be very composed, confident, and commanding on crosses. The last of which is essential in the Premier League. He even carries the nickname of "van der Gea" with his Atletico teammates because of his likeness to the Dutchman. However, being thrust into replacing van der Sar as United's No. 1 may potentially be an overwhelming task for a 20-year-old. There have also been reports of inconsistency from De Gea this season. One thing that appears certain is that United will spend this summer to find a world-class replacement for van der Sar, it's just uncertain who might that be.
Here's my look at the prospective candidates to be United's next No. 1 from a few months back.