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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul, 15, 2006

United set to hand Van der Sar new contract

Edwin van der Sar is expected to be offered a new one-year contract by Manchester United.

In his first season at Old Trafford last term, the veteran Dutchman has proved himself to be United's best goalkeeper since Peter Schmeichel retired in 1999.

Fabien Barthez, Mark Bosnich and, infamously, Massimo Taibi, are among those who have tried and failed to fill the great Dane's gloves, while, after one decent season, Tim Howard lost form badly and has now been sent on loan to Everton.

However, Van der Sar's ability and experience saw him cope easily with the demands of playing for the Red Devils and with Sir Alex Ferguson in the process of revamping his first-team squad, he is ready to offer the 35-year-old an extension to the contract which is due to expire next summer.

'Edwin has one more year left on his contract and we are looking to give him another one,' said Ferguson.

'We have to pay attention to his age and it depends on how he does next season but he was a terrific addition to our squad last year. His form was superb.'

By staying with United for extra year, Van der Sar will also buy Ferguson a bit of time as he assesses whether youngster Ben Foster has the quality required to eventually become first-choice.

Although Foster is the senior keeper on United's current tour of South Africa, he will return to Watford on loan for the new campaign providing Ferguson can sort out the transfer of Tomasz Kuszczak from West Brom.

The Baggies have reacted with consternation to Ferguson's claims that a deal to sign Kuszczak is on the brink of being done but it does appear only a matter of time before the Pole arrives at Old Trafford.

There are many who question why the Red Devils chief needs to buy Kuszczak given Foster's outstanding performances last term saw him installed on Sven-Goran Eriksson's World Cup standby list.

However, Ferguson does not feel he can go into the new season without a back up to Van der Sar who has proven Premiership experience, something 24-year-old Kuszczak got at the Hawthorns last season.

'We need some experienced cover,' said Ferguson. 'The fact Tomasz has played a full season in the Premiership gives him greater all round experience at this moment in time.

'But we are trying to consolidate our goalkeeping options and by next season I think we will be in a stronger position than at any time since the Peter Schmeichel era.'

Meanwhile, Ferguson confirmed he is in the hunt for new signings, having so far failed to bring in a single fresh face.

Tottenham's Michael Carrick and Atletico Madrid forward Fernando Torres continue to be strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford, while the demotion of Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina to Serie B for their part in the Italian match-fixing scandal could see a host of big-names entering the transfer market, including Patrick Vieira and David Trezeguet.

'We are looking,' said Ferguson. 'Hopefully, something will be done in the next couple of weeks.'

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