Everton: 5 Keeper Candidates to Succeed Tim Howard at Goodison Park
Howard is 33 years old and is contracted to Everton until 2016, so the time is coming when a successor needs to be in place.
While goalkeepers usually extend their careers beyond the normal playing days of outfield players, as a look at a list of the Premier League's oldest players will attest, Howard could continue for another seven years as the Everton number one.
Yet, with Everton's European ambition, as well as their domestic success, the club could be looking to secure the services of a future goalkeeping star in the mould of Joe Hart or David De Gea.
Howard could also use some immediate competition; to keep the American at his best, he needs a solid backup to push him to his highest level.
While goalkeeper is not an immediate need of the Toffees, a young goalkeeper could help solidify the future of Everton as they look to build on their strong recent Premier League finishes and move onto the European level once more.
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images
Much has already been written about the future of Jack Butland and the possibility of a move to Everton.
England's best young goalkeeper, Birmingham City's Jack Butland was reportedly close to joining Everton during the summer transfer window and would be a great addition to the Everton squad.
With Birmingham currently in financial trouble, Butland will be the first name on the chopping block in January, and Everton, alongside Southampton, are reportedly interested in the youngsters services.
Butland represented Great Britain during the London Olympics and has one England cap to his name, having traveled to Poland and Ukraine for the European Championships as Joe Hart's back-up.
At 19, Butland could be Everton's goalkeeper for years to come and at £6 million, he could be a steal.
Butland would give Tim Howard instant competition, something Jan Mucha was supposedly signed for in 2010, and the young Englishman would surely be used in the not too distant future.
Howard, who is contracted to the the club until 2016, would surely relinquish his starting role before the end of his contract, as Butland wouldn't sign to be used sparingly in cup competitions.
Currently plying his trade in the Everton Under 21 squad, Mateusz Taudul is Everton's young goalkeeper of choice.
At 18 years old, Taudul is one for the future, and if Tim Howard continues his strong run of form, the young Polish keeper could be the next Everton No. 1.
Taudul represented Poland at Under 19 level and has been at Everton since 2011.
With six appearances out of 7 games for the Everton U21, Taudul is well thought of at the club and could soon be seen on the Everton bench or in Cup games thanks to the lacklustre performances of current Everton backup Jan Mucha.
Having graduated from Polish goalkeeping academy MSP Szamotuly, alongside Arsenal 'keeper Lukas Fabianski, Taudul will hope for a more successful Premier League career than his compatriot, and the young Everton player is one to watch for the future.
Perhaps he is the best option to take over from Howard when he calls it quits.
With a contract that runs until 2016, Howard could still start for Everton for the next two seasons, as Taudul matures and gains more experience before taking the reins when the American's contract expires.
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
The one that got away, Norwich City goalkeeper John Ruddy could be re-signed when shot-stopper Tim Howard is replaced at Goodison Park.
Ruddy's first stint at Everton began in 2005 when he was signed by manager David Moyes from Cambridge United.
Making just one competitive appearence for the Blues, Ruddy was loaned out nine times in five years with the club before being signed by Norwich in 2010.
His time with the Canaries has been largely successful as Ruddy was called up by England manager Roy Hodgson for the 2012 European Championships but had to pull out of the squad due to a broken finger.
Ruddy would make his England debut in August 2012 as a second-half substitute in a 2-1 win against Italy.
Ruddy has since said of his time at Everton: “It was fantastic for me and I really enjoyed my time there. I’ll never have a bad word to say about the club because they took a chance on me. Unfortunately it didn’t work out like we wanted to, but that’s football and you move on to different things. I don’t think any of us are looking back at it now.”
Evertonians would welcome Ruddy back as a replacement for Tim Howard; the Englishman is a great shot-stopper with fantastic reactions and although he is prone to the odd mistake, he has been fantastic for Norwich.
Stu Forster/Getty Images
Another young English international, Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Foster could be Tim Howard's replacement at Goodison Park.
The 24-year-old signed for Celtic early in the season having had two successful loan spells at Parkhead from Newcastle United, and has seen interest back in England grow after a callup to the national side earlier this month.
Having just signed for the Bhoys, Forster is unlikely to leave this season, but with Howard still in good form this is not a problem.
Forster, at 6'7", is built to play in goal and had an highly successful loan spell at then Championship side Norwich City, keeping 18 clean sheets in 38 appearances.
Newcastle United starter Tim Krul kept Forster out of the lineup at St James' Park, but thanks to a move to Glasgow, Forster is finally reaping the praise his performances deserve.
While manager Neil Lennon has been quick to state that Forster is, for the moment, going nowhere, it will be tough for Celtic to hold onto such a prized asset with English clubs sniffing around.
Clive Rose/Getty Images
From one Manchester United backup to another, young Dane Anders Lindegaard could be the latest ex-United player to flourish at Goodison Park.
With United first-choice keeper David De Gea finding his stride after a tough first season in the Premier League, Lindegaard looks set to be a United backup for the foreseeable future.
At 28, Lindegaard is coming into his prime and is great competition for De Gea, a way for Sir Alex Ferguson to keep the young Spaniard playing his best.
Lindegaard would have to force a move away from Old Trafford, as Ferguson likes goalkeeping competition, but the lack of first-team opportunities could make the Danish international move to pastures new.
A big, loud, Peter Schmeichel-esque shot-stopper, Lindegaard would be a great replacement for Howard, but his age and lack of experience could hinder Everton manager David Moyes.
There is no doubt Lindegaard could be starting in the Premier League, but he seems happy as the United backup. With Everton's history with ex-United players, Lindegaard could be a favourite to replace or back up Tim Howard in the near future.