Who is your top goalkeeper of the season?

Ahead of this year’s Goal 50, we want to know who you think has been the best shot stopper during the 2012-13 campaign

POLL

The latest Goal 50 for 2012-13 is fast approaching as we review the best players from all regions of the world over the previous season.

This is the sixth edition of the award, which has previously been won by current holder Cristiano Ronaldo (twice), Barcelona star Lionel Messi (twice) and Wesley Sneijder in 2010.

As part of the build-up to this year’s prize, we are running a series of polls asking readers to vote for their own best players in each position for what should be an intriguing debate.

We kick off with the goalkeepers and there are a number of high-profile candidates who can lay claim to having been the best player between the sticks over the last 12 months.

Manuel Neuer secured treble glory with Bayern Munich as their resolute defensive record served as the base from which they claimed the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League.

Thibaut Courtois was inspired for Atletico Madrid, on loan from Chelsea, as they beat city rivals Real Madrid to win the Copa Del Rey, while Atleti also enjoyed the best defensive record in La Liga.

At the Bernabeu, Diego Lopez was at the centre of a huge controversy after Jose Mourinho continued to select him in favour of the dropped Iker Casillas. Even Casillas’ biggest fans, though, did not begrudge the widespread view that Lopez showed excellent form throughout his time in the side.

Gianluigi Buffon and Samir Handanovic were amongst the standout performers in Serie A, while David de Gea was voted in the PFA’s Team of the Season after his performances for champions Manchester United in the Premier League.

HAVE YOUR SAY

In total we have 15 goalkeepers up for your vote to decide on the best goalkeeper for the 2012-13 season.
Let us know your thoughts by voting in our poll and leaving your comments below. You can also get in touch via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Heynckes urges Bayern to sign Isco

The recently retired coach has urged his former club to try and buy the Spain Under-21 international ahead of the 2013-14 campaign

Former Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes has advised the Champions League winners to make a move for Malaga star Isco in the summer transfer window.

The attacking midfielder is continually being linked with a move to a bigger club following his fine performances in 2012-13 and revealed earlier this week that Manchester City and Real Madrid are keen to lure him away from his current club ahead of next season.

However, if it was up to Heynckes, the Spain Under-21 international would continue his career at the Bundesliga giants instead.

“Who should Bayern sign? There are some very interesting players out there, like Malaga star Isco. He’s a class act in midfield,” Heynckes told Kicker.

The 21-year-old has a contract with Malaga until 2016, but has a €35 million buy-out clause.

Bayern have already secured the services of Mario Gotze from Borussia Dortmund and Jan Kirchhoff from Mainz for next season.

Heynckes announced his retirement earlier this week after guiding Bayern to a historic treble this term. The Bavarians had previously already appointed Pep Guardiola as his successor.

Tough for Guardiola to top Heynckes, says Abelardo

The retired Spain international believes the former Blaugrana coach will face a difficult challenge ahead of taking charge at die Roten

Ex-Barcelona centre-back Abelardo says incoming Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola will find it difficult to top Jupp Heynckes’ exceptional 2012-13 campaign.

The 68-year-old German, who has retired, led the club to an unprecedented treble, including the Champions League, Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, and Abelardo believes Guardiola has his work cut out.

“Of course he knows that it’s gonna be difficult to top Jupp Heynckes’ feats this season,” the 43-year-old told Bundesliga.de.

“However, he also knows that, similar to his time at Barcelona, he will have a gigantic squad at his disposal along with great conditions to target the set goals. 

“If there would have been any doubts, he wouldn’t have taken the job.”

Abelardo thinks the two European clubs share a similar approach to raising and promoting young players and that Guardiola did not have to think twice about the Bavarians’ offer.

“There are a lot of similarities between Barcelona and Bayern. Both are teams with a huge historic background, and he [Pep] knows that there are good talents,” he added.

“If I remember correctly, players like Philipp Lahm, Holger Badstuber, Thomas Muller and Bastian Schweinsteiger came from the B-Team. He likes that.

“As soon as there was interest from Bayern, I don’t think he thought about other opportunities.”

Arsenal braced for Koscielny bids from Barcelona and Bayern Munich

The Gunners face a battle to hang on to their in-demand defender this summer following enquiries from the two European giants for the €23.5 million-rated Frenchman

By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Arsenal face a battle to hang on to Laurent Koscielny as they brace themselves for bids for the in-demand defender, Goal understands.

Barcelona and Bayern Munich have both made enquiries for the France international and are prepared to offer him a bumper pay rise to move to the continent while the Gunners have slapped a €23.5 million price tag on the 27-year-old in an attempt to ward off interest from the two big hitters.

WHO’S THE KOS

KOSCIELNY’S 2012-13 STATS
GAMES PLAYED
GOALS
YELLOW CARDS
RED CARDS
34
4
5
1

However, Arsenal are expecting bids from one or both clubs, with a growing acceptance among the Emirates Stadium hierarchy that they are vulnerable if the centre-back pushes for a move.

Goal revealed in May that new Bayern coach Pep Guardiola had sanctioned a move for Koscielny and his representative Stephane Courbis admitted to Eurosport France on uSunday that the player had been targeted by both the Champions League holders and the Spanish champions.

“Laurent is part of a shortlist of two clubs,” said Courbis. “Bayern or Barca have not contacted the player to discuss a possible transfer but I know that [he] is part of a shortlist of three or four players from both clubs.”

Arsenal fear that Koscielny could be tempted by a big offer from either team. The 27-year-old has four years remaining on the £75,000-a-week contract that he signed last summer but the two continental giants could both offer him a salary worth more than £100,000 a week as well as a chance to play for two of Europe’s elite clubs.

Koscielny caught the eye of Guardiola and Barcelona’s top brass when Arsenal beat the recently crowned Spanish champions 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium in a first-leg Champions League tie in February 2011. He was also outstanding in the Gunners’ 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena in the first knockout stage of this season’s tournament.

Bayern are targeting a proven centre-back this summer who will be comfortable with Guardiola’s fluid playing style, while Barcelona want a left-sided centre-back to provide competition to Carlos Puyol, 35, after releasing Eric Abidal.

There had been strong interest from the Catalan club in Thomas Vermaelen and he remains on their shortlist but Barca are believed to have prioritised the capture of Koscielny.

Meanwhile, Bayern have intensified their search for a new central defender after Holger Badstuber underwent knee surgery in May that the club claim will rule him out for another nine months.

Koscielny joined Arsenal from Lorient in 2010 for around €11m and has developed into one of the most accomplished defenders in the English top flight. The France international was a key figure in Arsenal securing a top-four Premier League finish and Arsene Wenger would hate to lose him.

Speaking earlier in June, Koscielny admitted he could leave Arsenal. “It is hard to not win titles year after year,” he conceded. “We are competitors, professionals, we want to win. I want to add to my list of achievements. If Arsenal cannot allow me that, I’ll seek a move elsewhere. I have to see if I have clubs interested in me. I will not go to any club.”

Wenger has already lined up a move for Swansea City’s Ashley Williams as he prepares to rebuild his defence ahead of next season.

As revealed by Goal, the Wales captain has agreed personal terms with the Gunners and the Londoners are hopeful of signing the 28-year-old if they can agree a fee with Swansea.

Dortmund rule out Lewandowski move abroad

The German giants have made it clear the striker will not be moving to England or Spain after previously ruling out a domestic transfer

Borussia Dortmund have revealed Robert Lewandowski will not be allowed to move abroad this summer and say he will “definitely” be at the club next season.

The Poland international is keen to leave BVB ahead of the 2013-14 campaign, and made clear his desire to follow Mario Gotze to Bayern Munich before his contract expires in June 2014.

However, Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke recently insisted that they would not sell Lewandowski to the Champions League winners, before suggesting that a move abroad was still an option.

The striker has since been linked with Real Madrid and Manchester United, but Dortmund have now made it clear that they will not sanction a move abroad.

“Robert will now definitively play for Borussia Dortmund next season. We need clarity in order to plan for the future,” Watzke was quoted as saying by Suddeutsche Zeitung.

Sporting director Michael Zorc, meanwhile, has also confirmed that Lewandowski is going nowhere as they are set to kick off their preparations for the new season.

“We will start our pre-season in two weeks time. We wanted to have clarity on this matter,” added Zorc.

Dortmund’s decision not to sell Lewandowski this summer means that the 24-year-old is likely to leave the club on a free transfer next year.

Bayern Munich have reportedly already told the striker’s agent, Cezary Kucharski, that they remain interested in Lewandowski and will sign him in 2014 if Dortmund don’t budge this summer.