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United confirm interest in Stekelenburg

Manchester United have put Netherlands international Maarten Stekelenburg at the top of their list to replace retiring goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.

• Van der Sar confirms quit plan
• Fergie hopes for Scholes stay
• Live transfer blog: January 29

A dependable presence in South Africa last summer for the World Cup finalists, the Ajax goalkeeper is highly rated across the continent. And now United coach Rene Meulensteen has confirmed the 28-year-old - who only has a year left on his current deal with the Eredivisie club - has attracted Sir Alex Ferguson's interest.

"Stekelenburg is indeed the 'keeper who is at the top of our wanted list," Meulensteen said. "We naturally talk a lot among ourselves about who should replace Van der Sar. Alex Ferguson has spoken about Stekelenburg with Edwin and that does not seem strange to me at all."

United's goalkeeping coach Eric Steele acknowledged earlier in the week that the club had three targets in mind who could potentially succeed Van der Sar, who will retire at the end of the current campaign, with assistant manager Mike Phelan suggesting on Thursday that Sporting Lisbon's Rui Patricio is also someone of interest to the Old Trafford hierarchy.

"He's a young keeper with enormous potential - we've known Rui Patricio for a long time and we've also played against him a few times," Phelan said of the 22-year-old. "The only thing I can confirm is that we haven't made any offer."

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