Everton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg is eyeing up a return to the Netherlands once his contract at Goodison Park comes to an end.
The Dutch goalkeeper is set to be a free agent this summer, bringing an end to a four-year spell on Merseyside after his move from Fulham in 2016.
While he will be signing a short-term deal to extend his stay until the end of the season, he will be available on a free at some point and needs to plan for life after Everton.
At 37-years-old, that is difficult to do, with most players having either retired or moved into coaching at this stage of their careers.
Stekelenburg, though, isn’t interested in ending things just yet, and instead fancies a return to his native Holland, which he left for Roma nine years ago.
“I’m here in my fourth and final season because my contract is about to expire. I may be 37, but I haven’t been so fit in years,” he told Voetbal International, relayed by Soccernews.
“I’ve never talked about quitting. I’m now focusing on my future; I am currently in a phase of life in which other things are also important; it is not only about me but also about my family.
“I have played abroad for nine years. Yes, with varying success, but should I have stayed with Ajax? I think that’s too easy.
“That step to AS Roma came at a perfect time, and everything was right, but you simply do not have everything in hand.
“There is a fast transfer abroad; my injuries have not helped in that respect either.
“I have learned from it, but now the time has come to return to the Netherlands and then we will see if there is still something beautiful passing by. If the picture is correct, I would like to continue.”
Whether Stekelenburg can find himself a new club this summer remains to be seen. Ordinarily, a 37-year-old goalkeeper would not be that attractive a proposition, but that has changed in recent years.
Several big clubs have all brought in veteran goalkeepers to act as their number two or three in recent years, to varying levels of success.
This year clubs will be even keener to save money given the Coronavirus epidemic and perhaps that can work in Stekelenburg’s favour once he does leave Everton.