Akinfeev? He's Smaller Than Foster!
Ben Foster made a mess of his chance to show his talents to the world in the shirt of Manchester United. I'm not sure we can ever expect him to reach a reasonable standard but this is not a Foster-bashing article. It merely serves to highlight the reason why rumours about United acquiring a new goalkeeper are all over the internet these days.
And the most frequently occurring name is that of Igor Akinfeev, the CSKA Moscow keeper whom we'll face in little more than two weeks' time. He's experienced, having been first choice at his club since the age of 17 and he's accumulated 35 caps for Russia. He's a brilliant shotstopper, quick and excellent at rushing off his line.
According to reports, if Van der Sar decides he'll quit at the end of the season, Akinfeev will immediately sign a United contract which would see him arrive in July as his club allowed him to talk to the English champions.
This is all good and all but there's one glaring problem here. Foster's greatest weakness is that he's not commanding enough in the area and that he's not tall enough which is a real problem in certain situations.
Now, Akinfeev critics say that he does not dominate aerially and that he's often unconvincing with crosses, corners... Familiar? Oh, and at 6ft 1in he's actually an inch smaller than our Foster. He's certainly a damn fine goalkeeper and might not have let in Arshavin's shot or Bellamy's second goal at Old Trafford but is he really the man to replace Edwin van der Sar? Is he really cut for the English league, where a keeper must be good in the air, as poor Fabien Barthez found out? I'm not sure.