Edwin van der Sar is reportedly on Manchester United wishlist in their search for a director of football. The former Netherlands goalkeeper was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer of 2005, becoming a big figure at the club, ending his career at the Old Trafford club with a good trophy haul. United signed David De Gea to replace the Dutchman.
The 48-year-old is currently the chief executive at Ajax in his native Netherlands and has gained a ‘glowing reputation’ for his work at the club. Van der Sar is also a highly-respected figure on the board of the European Club Association. It would be one of the best things to happen at the club in recent times if this was to pay off.
Over the past nine months or so, following the sacking of Jose Mourinho, it was reported that the clubs executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward would be seeking to appoint a director of football, having the time to do so before the summer transfer window, which was an important time for the club to launch yet another rebuilding project.
However, after reports of this happening, nothing materialised other than Darren Fletcher and Rio Ferdinand being linked, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer then being appointed as the permanent manager of the club in March and talk of a director of football being sidelined. Nicky Butt did step into a new role dealing with first
Woodward is now of the suggestion that an experienced person in this role is needed in order to identify transfer targets for Solskjaer with his plans to rebuild the club, putting back on the road to glory by signing talented youth prospects rather than readymade superstars, which is something that has not worked recently.
The 48-year-old is aware that he is on United’s list to recruit for the role and may face a dilemma if his former club came calling. Ajax has just returned to an elite status in European football, having a £220 million budget following departures from the club in order to rebuild. It could be seen as a negative, him walking out on the club right now.
However, it could be seen as wanting to grow and take on a much bigger challenge, which is what this would be at United, especially taking control over transfer dealing from Woodward, if that is going to be part of this, which is why the club is in its current position, him not knowing the game all that well, or how to sign players that will fit into the team.
Van der Sar’s wife has suffered some health problems in the past, which has stopped him leaving the Netherlands. However, after the brain haemorrhage that Annemarie van der Sar suffered in 2009, she is in a much better condition now although it could still be too early for him to leave the country. United would need to test the water.
The former United goalkeeper had a role in the development of Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt and has some great contacts in the game, something that United would benefit from, especially in line with bettering the squad so they can contend with the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Arsenal.