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Maarten Stekelenburg Wants to Leave, But Does Anyone Want Him?

A report from Winnersports says that Stekelenburg is looking to leave in the summer. I'm fine to let him go, especially if Fulham go down. But would anyone want him?

Mike Hewitt

This year hasn't gone the way Maarten Stekelenburg hoped. He was being re-united with his old coach Jol. He was trying to rebuild enough value to get into the World Cup squad for The Netherlands. Unfortunately for both him and Fulham supporters it hasn't worked out.

Things just got off to a bad start with his injury in the first fixture. Since that time, he's been in and out of the lineup due to both injury and form. At the beginning of the year, I thought he'd be a clear upgrade to Stockdale, and probably a better keeper than Mark Schwarzer had been the year before. If you ask me now, I'm not so sure.

Stekelenburg has given up goals at basically the same rate as David Stockdale. Unless Stockdale has faced a weak set of opponents, you'd have to rate their shot stopping and ability to marshal the defense on about  equal terms. I certainly don't know enough about goal keeping to put one above the other in that regard.

Where I do think Stekelenburg has the advantage is distribution. He is much better with the ball and he seems to find team mates much more frequently. However, this Fulham side isn't really set up to play a possession out of the back style; so that difference isn't as big of a deal as it could be.

If Fulham go down, and they get a reasonable offer for Stekelenburg, I'd be inclined to take it. Stockdale is a fine keeper at the Championship level. He's already proven at Hull City he can be part of a squad that gets promoted. I'm still not sold 100% on him as Premier League talent at a top ten club; but I wouldn't even be that worried about him assuming the defense in front of him isn't a disaster.

That being said, is there going to be a market for him? He's given up 43 goals in 19 appearances. And while the Fulham defense has been bad, he should have probably made it better than Stockdale. He also has had trouble staying healthy. The article mentions Ajax as a possibility, but I doubt they're going to want to pay a transfer fee, and he might even need to take a pay cut.

A better option might be a loan. I'm not sure Ajax is a club that makes sense as they have two very good young keepers. But someone might take a flyer on Stekelenburg. After the season, if he has any value Fulham could sell him then. Or if Fulham make it back to the Premier League, possibly think about bringing him back in.

What do you think the best option is for him?