This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
As confirmed on the club’s official website, Edwin van der Sar has penned a new long-term deal to stay at Ajax.
Reports in recent weeks and months had linked the Dutchman with a possible move to Manchester United to take up a key role amongst the backroom staff, with a newly-formed director of football role being mooted.
The former goalkeeper then admitted he would be keen on taking up a position at his former side where he won four Premier League titles. However, Ajax have now confirmed that their CEO has signed a contract extension at the club, and thereby ending any speculation he could potentially jump ship to Old Trafford in the near future.
Speaking after the announcement, he said (as quoted by The Manchester Evening News): “Our common goal is to join the European top with Ajax. That is ambitious and I love that. Together with the rest of the management team I am happy to continue to get that together as a whole. We are well on the way, but we are not there yet.”
When rumours were abound that United were keen on appointing someone to a very high-profile position behind the scenes, either as a sporting or technical director, names like Rio Ferdinand and Darren Fletcher were thrown about. Now, whilst the duo were fine players for the Red Devils in their own rights, they have no experience whatsoever when it comes to the actual job description.
Van der Sar on the other hand has forged a burgeoning reputation at Ajax as the Dutch side’s CEO, and their run to the Champions League semi-finals last season certainly provides evidence of the kind of success he has enjoyed there. That level of actual job experience, and his affinity with the Old Trafford faithful from his playing days, would have made him the ideal candidate for Ed Woodward to have appointed.
Instead, United’s executive vice-chairman has since insisted their current approach of working, particularly when it comes to recruitment, is the right one. Woodward should have convinced Van der Sar to join the project in Manchester and lead their revival. But, his pride and ego at wanting to do things his own way has cost the club yet again.
Now, United face the prospect of seeing Woodward once again be at the forefront of the club’s footballing business off-the-pitch, and that’s exactly what they didn’t want.