A move that has been on the cards for most of the season now appears to be imminent after Manchester United accepted a £6m bid from Birmingham City which will take goalkeeper Ben Foster to St Andrews. It will end a difficult period for the England international who failed to take a chance to be first choice at Old Trafford. He made several high profile blunders when deputising for Edwin van der Sar before Christmas allowing the Dutch veteran to reclaim his place once he had recovered from injury.
Foster also slipped behind Tomasz Kuszczak in the pecking order at United and his lack of action was a major factor in him missing out on going to South Africa for the World Cup with England despite starting the season as Fabio Capello’s first choice.
The 27 year old who has been at Old Trafford since moving from Stoke City in 2005 was aware that his days at the club were numbered when he admitted last week that he “just wants to be playing football. You never want to leave Manchester United but I’m not interested in just hanging around and I would go if the club wanted to sell me. If they are happy to accept a bid then you have to read between the lines, realise you are not really needed and move on. It would not be the end of the world for me”
It’s a move which has the full backing of Birmingham City goalkeeper Joe Hart who has been recalled by his parent club Manchester City after a hugely successful season spell on loan at St Andrews. Hart admits he wanted to stay at the Blues and has no doubts that Foster, starved of first team opportunities at Old Trafford, will be an ideal replacement “I think Ben will easily do the job because he is a fantastic keeper” Hart said “He had some harsh criticism at United but if he does turn out for Birmingham next season he will do a good job”
Foster’s transfer will increase the speculation over who Sir Alex Ferguson will want as a long term replacement for Van der Sar who turns 40 in October. Lyon’s Hugo Lloris, CSKA Moscow’s Igor Akinfeev and Gigi Buffon of Juventus have all been linked with a move to United.
Another former Manchester United goalkeeper who was released by the club nearly 20 years ago found himself playing a crucial role in a vain attempt to deny Chelsea the title last weekend. Wigan’s 38 year old Mike Pollitt doubts he will be on Sir Alex Ferguson’s Christmas card list after conceding eight times at Stamford Bridge.
Pollitt who began his professional career at United in 1990 was powerless to stop a rampant Chelsea when the sides met on Sunday “I obviously wanted United to win the league having been there as a kid and I would have loved to have done them a favour” he said after his nightmare afternoon “I suppose I won’t be on Sir Alex’s Christmas card list – not that I ever was anyway, but it just wasn’t to be. We all felt we could do something if we kept it tight for the first half an hour but to concede so early killed us”
Can a move to Birmingham City help resurrect Foster’s England career?