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Stekelenburg signs four-year deal

Fulham FC have officially confirmed the arrival of Holland's number one.

Julian Finney

Maarten Stekelenburg's arrival looks set to pave the way for Mark Schwarzer’s departure.

So who is this new boy between the sticks?

Starting his youth career at Zandvoort '75, Stekelenburg had a brief stint at VV Schote, before being picked up by Ajax at 15.

In 2002, he made his club debut, and featured in cameo appearances until being made the official club number one in 2005.

Making steady progress in Holland, Stekelenburg was named ‘Player of the Year’ in the 2007/2008 season, before temporarily losing his place the following year to injury.

With the introduction of Martin Jol in 2009, Stekelenburg was reintroduced as first team keeper, and a series of strong performances over the next few seasons saw the Dutchman win the Eredivisie in 2011.

The following year Stekelenburg completed a move to A.S. Roma, where he made 48 appearances. Despite some consistent performances, he had some trouble maintaining his number one status with the Italian outfit.

Signing for Fulham, the 6ft 5in shot-stopper is to be reunited with the man who brought the best out of him in 2010.

And Fulham can be confident that his commanding presence is adequate in filling the gloves of Schwarzer, a player who has done the team proud over the last few years.

So hang on one second. A talented Dutch goalkeeper who came through the Ajax youth system, before transferring to an Italian club, losing his way, and then being rescued by The Whites, you say?

Anyone else got déjà vu?

Stekelenburg was once dubbed the new Edwin van der Sar, and in some ways has mirrored his career, to this point. He was even made the official Dutch number one, when the great man himself stepped down.

So here’s hoping for some assured performances, and, of course, for Manchester United to remain ignorant.