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MAN UTD KEEPER CRISIS: 5 of Fergie's biggest goalkeeping blunders

During his 26 years in charge, Sir Alex Ferguson only had two genuinely great goalkeepers between the posts: Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar.

Before the arrival of Schmeichel and between the Dane's departure and Van der Sar's signing, Ferguson tried and discarded a hatful of senior keepers, many of whom arrived with either big reputations or great potential, but failed to meet expectations.

We take a look at some of Fergie's most frustrating attempts at solving his goalkeeping issues:

JIM LEIGHTON

Leighton was part of Ferguson's great Aberdeen team, winning three league titles and the European Cup Winners' Cup, before joining his old boss in 1988.

But his three years at United were 'highlighted' by two major career setbacks. It was Leighton who was between the posts for Manchester City's famous 5-1 Maine Road thumping of United.

And the Scot, after playing in the 1990 FA Cup final against Crystal Palace, was dropped by Ferguson for the replay - a decision which saw him win his first trophy as United manager. Leighton managed just one appearance after that axing before joining George Graham's Arsenal.

"Back then it was 20 years since they last won it. Everyone wanted to be the first striker to win the title for Man United, the first centre-half, the first full-back. I wanted to be the first goalie. Unfortunately it never happened."

RICARDO

Spent three years at United between 2002 and 2005, but managed just the one appearance. His form with Real Valladolid not only earned Ricardo his move to Old Trafford, but also caps with Spain. But that all dried up after his switch to England.

"Ferguson is an outgoing and friendly coach with the players to the point that you don't expect. He's a good person. He seems like he could never hurt anyone, but scolds you and commands respect, which is something difficult in a coach," said the Spaniard.

Ricardo is now goalkeeping coach with the Japan national team.

MASSIMO TAIBI

The 'Blind Venetian' was the most famous of Fergie's keeper flops. Taibi arrived in 1999 just as Peter Schmeichel departed, but never managed to handle expectations.

Had joined initially as a third-choice, but injuries thrust him into the spotlight. He kicked off his United career with the man-of-the-match gong in victory over Liverpool, but appeared only three more times - including for a 5-0 rout by Chelsea.

"Ferguson taught me a lot - even if he did have a right go at me after the Chelsea match.

"He is like a general. He is good in command but when he loses it, he loses it - and he really let rip at me in the dressing room after the Chelsea game.

"After that Ferguson, who I have the greatest respect for and is a top manager, decided not to play me any more."

AND TWO THAT SLIPPED THE NET

OLIVER KAHN

Admits he came close to signing for Ferguson in 1994 when leaving Karlsruher, but chose Bayern Munich ahead of Manchester United.

"Alex Ferguson has never forgotten that," Kahn recalled just this year.

"He still holds that against me to this day."

'Der Titan' is regarded by many as Germany's greatest keeper.

JOE HART

Ferguson has admitted he turned down the chance to sign the Manchester City star when Hart was on the books with Shrewsbury Town.

"I could have bought Joe Hart for £100,000 so we all make mistakes.

"If you look at the England goalkeeper situation for the last 20 years, I would think he's easily the best."

Hart moved to City in 2006 and is now established among the world's best.

More:

MAN UTD KEEPER CRISIS: 5 David de Gea replacements

MAN UTD KEEPER CRISIS: Why LVG may not buy De Gea replacement

Chris Beattie
About the author

Chris Beattie

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