Bayern won't be held ransom on Neuer

Bayern Munich warned Schalke 04 today that it was not ready to pay out an "astronomical sum" for goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

"We want Manuel," Bayern president Uli Hoeness said in comments to the TZ daily. "When there's a desire, we can find a solution but Schalke management must now not come up with an astronomical sum. Negotiations haven't started, but they're imminent."

Neuer starred in Schalke's 2-0 defeat to Manchester United in the semi-final, first leg UEFA Champions League tie yesterday. The goalkeeper produced a sequence of stunning saves in the opening period, only for second-half strikes from Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney to earn United a victory that scarcely reflected the extent of their dominance.

His performance led Schalke's sporting director Horst Heldt to say: "His value on the transfer market is already very high, I don't know if it can still go up. But watching this match (against Manchester United), I said to myself 'Why sell such a player?'."

Neuer, 25, announced recently that he will not extend his contract with his boyhood club, which is due to expire next year.