Julio Cesar
Julio Cesar was once regarded as one of the world's leading goalkeepers. Reuters

Manchester United are reportedly sizing up potential replacements for under-fire goalkeeper David de Gea.

The Spaniard has endured a succession of criticism from the media since his £18.3 million move from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2011. Having earned a run in the United side after previously being alternated with Anders Lindegaard, De Gea again found himself in the spotlight for failing to adequately deal with a cross in the lead up to Tottenham’s late equalizer against United recently.

Publicly, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has defended the 22-year-old.

“It is better we deal with David de Gea rather than the press deal with him,” Ferguson said, according to the Guardian. “We are quite good at that. He had a fantastic game and was 30 seconds away from that. It is unfortunate for the lad but he has to deal with it. We will help him. Outfield players maybe make 20 mistakes in a game. But they [goalkeepers] are in a crucial position. We are OK with him.”

But speculation continues to swirl that Ferguson is trying to bring in a replacement. The Daily Express is the latest outlet to report that United are keen on Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Julio Cesar. The 33-year-old has been impressive since joining QPR last summer from Italian side Inter and recently earned a recall to the Brazil squad.

United’s attempts to try and sign Cesar during the January transfer window may be in vain, however, with QPR already thought to have rejected an approach from Real Madrid.

According to other sources, United will wait until the summer to replace De Gea. The Daily Mirror has claimed that Stoke’s Asmir Begovic is United’s top choice to become the new No. 1 at Old Trafford. The report also states that Begovic, 25, is set on joining the Premier League leaders, despite also receiving interest from Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool.

The Bosnia international has been in fine form this season and has been a major factor in Stoke’s impressive defensive record.

Metro puts forward yet another name in Swansea’s Michel Vorm. According to their report, United and Barcelona will contest the Netherlands international’s signing in the summer. Vorm has played a key part in Swansea’s success since arriving from FC Utrecht for just £1.5 million in the summer of 2011.

In other news, there appears to have been some developments in the saga over PSV Eindhoven midfielder Kevin Strootman. Manchester United have long been linked to the Netherlands international.

According to Dutch publication Voetbal International, last month an unnamed Premier League club sent an agent to sound out the possibility of signing Strootman. The 22-year-old’s own agent Chiel Dekker was more coy about whether a deal would happen. The article also states that Milan recently tried to secure Strootman.

The former FC Utrecht man is one of Europe’s most sought after midfielders and has already captained his country. However, both he and the club have previously suggested that he will be staying put until at least the end of the season.