Edwin van der Sar Would Be Open to Return to 'Special' Manchester United

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2019

Ajax Amsterdam CEO Edwin van der Sar poses at the Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam on February 12, 2019. (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP)        (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has said he would be open to making a return to Old Trafford at some point in the future.ย 

After appointing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the club's permanent manager, the Red Devils are now expected to step up their search for a technical director to oversee footballing matters at the club.

Speaking to The Times (h/t Goal), Van der Sar, the current chief executive at Ajax, said he would consider a move back to United and has spoken of his admiration for the job being done by the club's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward:

"United is a much bigger challenge than Ajax. They're not just a big and famous club but also a worldwide brand, yet when you're inside, it's still a family place.ย The washing ladies, Mike the chef, Kath (the receptionist), they're still there. You need to cherish that and Ole (Gunnar Solskjaer) is doing a great job at it. ...

"Also Ed, I have utmost respect for him and what he does for the club so I don't need to be the big man. I want to feel I can contribute and you can only do it for something you believe in. ...

"United is a special place, who knows eventually, but for now I'm here."

Despite seemingly opening the door to a possible return to United in some capacity, Van der Sar added that he was "really happy" in his current role at Ajax and said "we're not finished yet."

It's set to be a crucial summer at United, as Solskjaer will seek to put his stamp on the side. Miguel Delaney of The Independent noted that the lack of a technical director or a director of football has hindered United's planning for the transfer window:

Miguel Delaney @MiguelDelaney

Hard not to give Solskjaer the job... and hard not to think they could still have waited a bit. One issue is they have to start planning for summer. This slight dilemma actually again highlights absence of DOF. If they had one, could more easily have waited on OGS decision.

The Red Devils have never had someone in that role before, although it appears they are set to integrate that kind of figure in the setup moving forward. According to Goal, Van der Sar has been under consideration for it.

If United appointed him, he would be a popular acquisition. Like Solskjaer, Van der Sar was a key figure in one of the club's greatest nights, as his penalty save from Nicolas Anelka clinched the UEFA Champions League for United against Chelsea in 2008.

This was the moment the Dutchman secured the Red Devils' third European Cup success:

UEFA Champions League @ChampionsLeague

The moment @vdsar1970 ensured @ManUtd became kings of European football once again! ๐Ÿ™Œ Happy birthday, two-time #UCL winner Edwin van der Sar! ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰ https://t.co/6KRSfgRozu

Whoever comes in as the United technical director has a lot of work to do, as Bleacher Report's Rob Blanchette highlighted:

Rob Blanchette @_Rob_B

Young, Smalling and Jones all have new deals, and act as decent squad fillers. Valencia's departure will mean the team needs an auxiliary full-back at least. Also, give DDG the biggest goalkeeper deal in history. Lots of work to do this summer for the new DoF. #MUFC

Van der Sar would tick a lot of boxes. Not only is he adored by the supporters and familiar with the manner in which the club is run, he's been involved in the running of another European giant in Ajax.

Of course, United would be a big step up, and it's clear the Dutchman is happy in his current role. Even so, as the Red Devils continue to look for a figure to work alongside Solskjaer, you suspect Van der Sar's name will regularly surface.


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