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Edwin van der Sar personified what every defence wants behind them; a goalkeeper with flawless technique, height, presence in the box and the ability to pull off nearly impossible saves.
When Van der Sar joined from Fulham for a figure speculated around £2 million pounds, he had the highest expectations on his shoulders.
Consider that Manchester United has produced goalkeepers to the caliber of Peter Schmeichel and Fabien Barthez, Edwin van der Sar was always going to have an uphill task ahead of him.
Many would not include Van der Sar in a list of top Manchester United signings; however no matter how deadly a team’s attack is, if there is not a solid defence to back it up there will always be problems.
Despite not being able to score from anywhere on the park or outrun the fastest fullback, Edwin van der Sar ensured the defence did their job and the ball stayed out of the Red Devils' net as much as possible.
During his stint at United, Van der Sar kept emerging talents Ben Foster and Tomasz Kuszczak at bay—both highly talented young goalkeepers—a true testament to the Dutchman’s quality even when aging.
Anders Lindegaard and David de Gea, as well as all future Manchester United goalkeepers have enormous shoes to fill.