Ajax goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg is Manchester United's top target to replace the retiring Edwin van der Sar, according to first-team coach Rene Meulensteen.

Van der Sar, 40, confirmed this week that he will quit at the end of the season, ending a remarkable two decades at the top of the game. Now it seems the Old Trafford club want another Dutchman to take over.

"Stekelenburg is indeed a keeper who is at the top of our wanted list," Meulensteen is reported to have told Dutch radio.

"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 boss Sir Alex Ferguson on Friday said he hoped the club dealt with Van der Sar's retirement better than they did with the departure of Peter Schmeichel in 1999.

That triggered a tortuous six years at Old Trafford, when 10 keepers tried and failed to fill Schmeichel's enormous gloves before Van der Sar headed north from Fulham.

"We hope we are better organised about it this time," said Ferguson.

"I made a mistake. I should have taken Van der Sar at that time but didn't do. We tried several goalkeepers in the interim before I eventually got Edwin. Hopefully we'll be better prepared this time. We've learned from that."

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