Sir Alex Ferguson expects Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar to retire from playing at the end of the season.
Van der Sar turned 40 at the end of October and the Dutchman remains a reliable presence between the posts for United.
He has yet to give any firm indication of whether he will continue his career beyond this season, but Ferguson is planning for the keeper's retirement.
Ferguson believes that Van der Sar would not want his form to drop and also confirmed he wanted to spend more time with his wife Annemarie, who suffered a brain-related illness last year.
"I have come to accept this will be Edwin's last season," Ferguson told The People. "It's sad but the difficulty for a goalkeeper when he gets to 40 is something which happened with Peter Shilton.
"All of a sudden, because of age, Shilton's form just collapsed and I don't think Edwin would want that. He is such a proud man and it's going to be a big loss.
"We had a chat last season about how he saw his future and he explained to me his plans, and nothing has changed from then.
"It's difficult because he has his wife's health to consider after her illness.
"She is fine now and seems to be really good but she still has treatments to get in Holland, with physiotherapy and things like that. So for him to be here with us would be difficult."
The Red Devils have already agreed a deal to sign Denmark international Anders Lindegaard, but Ferguson is considering bringing in another keeper after being linked with the likes of Maarten Stekelenburg, Manuel Neuer and David De Gea.
He added: "We haven't finalised our thoughts on the goalkeeping situation.
"Edwin has massive experience and you can't buy that, so it's a difficult one because he has been a great goalkeeper and will be hard to replace."