Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer set for summer transfer

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The Independent Football

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is expected to leave Bundesliga side Schalke 04 after he refused to extend his contract beyond 2012, the club said today.

Debt-ridden Schalke are highly likely to allow Neuer to move in the close season, probably to Bayern Munich who have repeatedly tried to sign the 25-year-old, so they can claim a transfer fee estimated in local media at 20 million euros rather than let him leave for free.

"I took my decision without any influence from the outside. The decision had nothing to do with a coaching change or a person at some other club," Neuer told the club's website (www.schalke04.de).

"I want to keep the possibility of change open after 20 years of being true to one club," said Neuer, who is the club's talisman.

Neuer is considered one of the best goalkeepers in Europe having helped Germany to a third-place finish at the World Cup last year and taking Schalke to the Champions League semi-finals for the first time this season.

Schalke take on English league leaders Manchester United in the last four.

Bayern have struggled with their goalkeepers since the retirement of Oliver Kahn with Michael Rensing replaced by 36-year-old Hans-Joerg Butt, who again won the starting spot late this season from 22-year-old Thomas Kraft.

Schalke sports director Horst Heldt said the club was disappointed by the keeper's decision.

"We accepted this decision with a heavy heart and we must respect it," he said in a statement. What will happen now with Manuel will be decided in the coming weeks or months."