Uli Hoeness, the Bayern Munich president, insisted yesterday his club would not pay through the nose for Manuel Neuer in the wake of his outstanding performance for Schalke against Manchester United. The German goalkeeper is expected to move to Bayern this summer, although his display on Tuesday may yet attract further suitors.
Peter Schmeichel said yesterday that Neuer would be the perfect replacement for Edwin van der Sar at Manchester United. Negotiations with Bayern have yet to begin.
Ferguson, who praised Neuer's display as United won the first leg in Gelsenkirchen 2-0 as the best goalkeeping performance against the club since he became manager, is looking for a successor to Van der Saar with the veteran Dutchman retiring at the end of the season.
"He [Neuer] is probably the best goalkeeper in the world," Schmeichel, a member of United's treble-winning team of 1999, said. "He is 25 years of age. He's been captain for that team for a number of years. He is very mature in the way he plays. He doesn't make mistakes – I haven't seen him make a single mistake – and the way he played yesterday, he wasn't lucky in the way that he saved the shots and one-on-ones, it was very calculated.
"I just thought his overall game was fantastic and absolutely well-suited for Manchester United."
Neuer is set to leave the Veltins-Arena this summer, having confirmed he will not be signing an extension to his contract which expires in 2012. Bayern are thought to be his preferred destination, and Hoeness confirmed talks will start imminently.
"We have up till now not had any negotiations," he said in an interview with Munich's TZ newspaper. "That will now be addressed. We want Manuel, and where there's a will there's a way. But Schalke cannot now demand an astronomical price."
Schalke will want a hefty fee for their most prized asset, though, particularly after Tuesday's performance brought him to the attention of the whole of Europe. What is likely to count against United is the fact Neuer himself wants to remain in Germany. "Manchester United was never an option for me. I will focus now on my performances and my team. All the other things don't matter at the moment," he said.
But Schmeichel hopes his experience of the atmosphere in the second leg at Old Trafford next week might prompt a rethink. "Maybe he [Neuer] will have another think," the Dane added. "He's seen what Manchester United are capable of first hand. He's going to Old Trafford on Tuesday and it's just such a special place to play.
"He will probably experience, if nothing happens within that week, an Old Trafford crowd that absolutely welcomes him and sees him as the next goalkeeper for United."Reuse content