UNITED TRACK ITALIAN KEEPER
By Adam Marshall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The free transfer of Mark Bosnich to Chelsea has raised the probability that Ferguson will bring a new keeper to the club before he retires at the end of next season, and reports have resurfaced in Italy suggesting that Pelizzoli is very much in his thinking.
A younger man to deputise for Fabien Barthez and replace Raimond van der Gouw, who is 38 in March, is a priority for Ferguson.
Although the Dutchman could be offered a new contract to stay with the club, he is unlikely to be still be number two when Ferguson departs in 2002.
"I would like to extend my stay with Manchester United," said van der Gouw, who has an offer to play in the United States.
Nicky Culkin has potential but it remains to be seen whether the 22-year-old is capable of being the long-term stand-in for Barthez.
Currently on loan at Bristol Rovers for the season, the former York City man will be hoping that Ferguson pins his faith in his existing staff.
Paul Rachubka is in a similar position, and his stock has risen following Bosnich`s acrimonious exit.
As for Pelizzoli, the 20-year-old has been watched by United for several weeks, despite their previous bad experience with an Italian shot-stopper, when misfit Massimo Taibi arrived at the club.
The player`s agent has previously claimed that the Premiership champions are interested in his client, and they will continue to monitor his performances during the remainder of the Serie A campaign.
Atalanta have been one of the surprise sides in Italy this season, and several of their stars have attracted attention from other clubs.
Picture courtesy of the official Atalanta website