Edwin van der Sar is one of the most iconic players to ever grace Old Trafford, carrying on the legacy of legendary goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel. However, the former Manchester United man could’ve ended up as Liverpool player back in 1999.
The Dutchman enjoyed an illustrious career, winning four Premier League titles, a Champions League, and a Club World Cup with the Red Devils. Van der Sar not only successfully succeeded Schmeichel, but he also went on to become one of the greatest goalkeepers to ever play in England.
It’s undisputed that the former Dutch international’s career was a diamond studded one, as he was a vital pillar in Sir Alex Ferguson’s United side. However, during a recent interview with FourTwoTwo magazine, the talented shot-stopper has revealed that he almost signed for Liverpool instead of Juventus back in 1999.
“When I left Ajax in 1999, I travelled to Liverpool and spoke to Houllier,” said the United legend. “I was shown around Anfield, met the chairman and a couple of players. I thought about it, but when Juventus came to the table I came to the conclusion that it would be a bigger challenge to play in Italy.”
Now, though joining the Reds wouldn’t have been a step back for the former Red Devil, it would’ve undoubtedly created a huge hurdle during his switch to Manchester.
Eventually, the ex-Ajax keeper made a switch to Juventus, where he was soon replaced by Gianluigi Buffon. The decorated keeper then moved on to Fulham as a surprise transfer, before eventually joining Ferguson’s side, which saw him reach new heights of stardom.
“I found out that Ferguson had always been really keen on signing me,” he added. “But the chairman of United had a deal to sign Mark Bosnich on a free instead.”
VDS also revealed how he came to know of the Scot’s interest in signing him, as he continued: “So the idea had always been for me to succeed Peter Schmeichel, but it ended up taking six years longer than planned and they tried out some other keepers in that period.
“I found out that United were going to sign me when I discovered a voicemail from Ferguson. That was a special day. That was the moment I thought: ‘This is why I came over to London – to eventually make this next step forward.’
“Ferguson told me he needed someone who could lead and give guidance to the defence. He said he knew I wouldn’t get flustered if the side was under pressure.”
Then, one of the most defining signings of the Mancunians’ history was made back in 2005, and van der Sar sported the United colours for seven years. Today, the star keeper is CEO of his former side Ajax, but still openly admits his admiration for the Premier League giants.
Written by Ashish Sreejith
Have had two addictions in life- playing football and watching football. Usually described as introverted but not when it comes to speaking and writing about the beautiful game of football.