Fergie praise stimulates Akinfeev gossip
Sir Alex Ferguson declared himself impressed with CSKA Moscow goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, after the Russian produced a stand-out performance in the home side’s Champions League group B defeat last night. Media have linked Manchester United with a move for Akinfeev in the past week.
Akinfeev, 23, saved an awkward dipping shot from Paul Scholes in the first period the Kuzhniki Stadium and then an outstanding one-handed stop from a Nani header.
“I thought the goalkeeper was outstanding. He was very impressive,” said Ferguson, who has used Edwin van der Sar, Ben Foster and Tomasz Kuszczak this season.
Akinfeev, CSKA Moscow captain, has appeared more than 160 times for his club with 37 caps for Russia. The goalkeeper, who won the UEFA Cup with CSKA in 2005, has been a fixture in his club side from the age of 17.
Igor Akinfeev made his debut for Russia as the youngest player ever at just 18 years and 20 days, before taking over as long term number one in 2006.
With Foster blowing his chance to make a mark, van der Sar on the cusp of retirement and Kuszczak not considered a long-term option, United goalkeeping coach Eric Steele has compiled a report on the Russian.
But Sir Alex refused to comment on press speculating linking United with a bid for the Akinfeev, valued at around £10 million.
“I can’t deal with rumour because we have two very good young goalkeepers at the club at the moment in Kuszczak and Foster and the future lies with them,” Ferguson told Sky Sports News.
“When Edwin Van der Sar finally decides to retire I’m quite confident these players can take over.”
United fans are less certain.