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Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Stekelenburg catching Schalke's eye

ESPNsoccernet staff

Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt has revealed his admiration for Ajax goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, fuelling speculation that he could be a summer transfer target.

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Stekelenburg, 28, starred for the Netherlands as they reached last summer's World Cup final and he has continued to impress between the sticks for Ajax this season.

With current Schalke No. 1 Manuel Neuer expected to leave the club this summer, the Champions League's semi-finalists are on the lookout for a replacement, and Stekelenburg has caught the eye of Heldt.

"Stekelenburg is the shot-stopper of Netherlands' national team for a good reason, and his contract with Ajax runs [for] only one more season," Heldt told WAZ.

There are likely to be doubts raised about whether Schalke could realistically attract Stekelenburg as they are heading for an uninspiring 14th-place finish in the Bundesliga this season, though they may be able to offer Europa League football if they beat second-tier side MSV Duisburg in the German Cup final.

Stekelenburg has made almost 200 appearances for Ajax after progressing through the club's renowned academy but coack Frank de Boer has already expressed his belief that the goalkeeper will move on to a bigger club soon.




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