“Anders Lindegaard’s progress over the last 18 months has been meteoric.”
It was hardly a typical Thursday afternoon if you were a Manchester United fan. You could only muster a gasp ideal for a courtroom drama upon hearing an almost ‘revolutionary’ change at Old Trafford. Surely, the news of Anders Lindegaard on the verge of signing for the Red Devils took some by surprise; but even more so upon hearing that Atlético’s David De Gea is to join the club in the summer. A reason as to why that is could be that the Spaniard will cost something in the region of €20m to buy him out of his release clause; how much a risk that is remains to be seen in the future.
Yet, it is the man from Norwegian Tippeligaen outfit Aalesunds FK for whom everyone will show some sort of desired interest in, in the coming months. Lindegaard, although known, is a player many have seen very little of, understandably so. But should everything fall into place he will suddenly find himself under the watchful eye of everyone associated with the game should he become a United player come January.
The respected football analyst, scout and writer, Tor-Kristian Karlsen, feels that in Lindegaard, Manchester United have a goalkeeper who would, from the looks of it, fit in fine at Old Trafford. “He’s very well suited for English football,” Karlsen told ManUtd24. “Time will tell where he fits into Sir Alex’s plans. In any case he gives them options – a fine 2nd/3rd choice should they land De Gea as well. Plus a year as Van der Sar’s understudy can surely not be a bad thing either”.
Having worked as part of Watford’s scouting network and as a chief scout for Hannover 96, Karlsen knows a talent when he sees one. “Lindegaard is a commanding goalkeeper with presence who dominates the box,” Karlsen says. “Brave, he likes coming for crosses and stamping his authority. He has good reflexes and shot stopping skills.” If reports are to go by, he’ll cost £3.5 million, a sum which contrasts heavily to that of the expected fee for De Gea. And if Karlsen is to go by, United might have just found themselves a bargain. “Lindegaard is like a ‘good old fashioned’ number one rather than a technically brilliant and agile goalkeeper,” he adds.
Even when he received his first cap for Denmark in the summer, most Danes went ‘Anders who?’
The last couple of years have been, with no better word to put it, crazy, or eventful for the Danish international. Karlsen, like many other Danes and Norwegians, have been impressed with the speed of which he has developed.”His move to Manchester United marks an amazing raise to fame for the 26-year old,” says Karlsen. “When he set off to join Aalesund in Norway from his club OB Odense a couple of years ago – intially on a loan – he was virtually unknown in his home country. Even when he received his first cap for Denmark in the summer, most Danes went ‘Anders who?’ Since then he’s been impressive for both club and country, his progress over the last 18 months has been meteoric.”
Eric Steele, United’s goalkeeping coach, had told Sir Alex that Lindegaard would be the ideal successor to Van der Sar, but being Danish you could hardly blame those touting him as the ‘Next Peter Schmeichel’. His six-year stint at Danish club Odense Boldklub hardly reaped any rewards, so he left and looked elsewhere. He required some sort of kickstart in his career, and he got that, albeit it coming in a rather amusing circumstance. Tor-Kristian Karlsen told us: “It’s ironic that it was Roy Carroll’s move to Odense BK that forced Lindegaard to look to Norway for a starting spot.”
With Van der Sar and Tomasz Kuszczak look set to be going their separate ways, it’s all change between the posts next season. With De Gea’s presence, it may seem Lindegaard would have to settle for a place on the bench – yet it probably wouldn’t be as simple as that. While the Spaniard is recognised as far more established than the Dane (although six years his junior), they are sure to be given their equal time and chance to shine at United. As we are sure to find out soon, Lindegaard has plenty to offer the Red Devils – so don’t discount the man as a bench-warmer before he’s even started.