Manchester United ‘keeper Ben Foster is on the cusp of completing a £6 million move to Birmingham City, with most reports suggesting that the deal will be completed within the next 24 hours.
A fee was agreed between the two clubs last week and Foster is in the West Midlands this morning, hoping to complete a routine medical that will seal his United exit.
Birmingham are chasing a new ‘keeper after seeing Joe Hart return to his parent club, Manchester City, after a highly impressive season on-loan at St. Andrews last term.
After a series of high-profile blunders earlier in the season, Foster has fallen behind both Edwin Van Der Sar and Tomasz Kuszczak in the pecking order at Old Trafford and, as a result, has made just one appearance in the United first string since October.
Despite his errors against Manchester City and Sunderland, Foster was handed successive England starts against Belarus and Brazil – which, at the time, lead many to believe that the 27-year-old would be a shoe-in to seal a place in Fabio Capello‘s World Cup squad this summer.
However, his manager at club level, Sir Alex Ferguson, did not share the same unwavering faith in his goalkeeper and, following reports of a bust-up between the two, Foster was left on the sidelines for almost the entire remainder of the Premier League season – thus missing England’s World Cup cut.
After spending five years at United (two of which were spent on loan at Watford, during their brief sojourn in the top flight) Foster has now seemingly conceded that his once bright future at Old Trafford will not be manifesting in the way that he would have hoped.
With first-choice stopper, 39-year-old Van Der Sar, staving off retirement by signing a one-year contract extension to remain at the club next season, it seems that Foster will not be reclaiming the ‘No. 1’ jersey at United at any point in the near future.
Regardless of the fee (which is admittedly a little high for my taste), it would seem that Birmingham are getting themselves a good deal. Foster is relatively young in goalkeeping terms, talented and – perhaps crucially – has a monolithic point to prove.
After a disappointing season he will be keen to reinstate himself as a first-choice Premier League ‘keeper and as an England contender, but the question remains:
Following his fairly humiliating degradation to the ‘reserve ranks’, does Foster still have the required steel to prove his numerous doubters wrong?