Edwin van der Sar’s concerns over Manchester United job as Joel Glazer begins hunt
Man Utd: Strong characters have ‘disappeared’ says van der Sar
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In a dream world, Manchester United fans would name Edwin van der Sar as Ed Woodward’s replacement. He’s somebody with knowledge of the club, experience of orchestrating things at Ajax and is one of football’s last remaining good guys. But it’ll be curious to see whether his stance has changed, with the Dutchman previously harbouring concerns about a potential return to Old Trafford.
On Sunday, Manchester United beat Burnley 3-1 at Old Trafford.
It was a good performance from the Red Devils, with the performances of Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood particularly impressive.
But that already feels like a long time ago thanks to the European Super League debacle.
United and five other English clubs attempted to form their own elite competition, with teams from Spain and Italy also giving the green light.
In the end, however, they backtracked due to a huge backlash from supporters all around the globe.
Woodward resigned in the aftermath, saying: “We have invested more than £1bn in the squad during my time here and I am particularly delighted with the progress the players have made under the astute leadership of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his coaching team in the last two years.
“I am sure that with the changes we have made on-field and to the coaching and football staff in recent years this great club will soon be lifting silverware again.
“It deserves to.
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“I desperately wanted the club to win the Premier League during my tenure and I am certain that the foundations are in place for us to win it back for our passionate fans.”
And, now, many fans are pining for Van der Sar to return.
However, the Red Devils may need to change some things if they’re to entice their former goalkeeper into coming back.
In 2019, journalist Ian McGarry revealed Van der Sar had concerns over the job and what it would entail.
“Van der Sar does have some reservations,” McGarry said on the Transfer Window Podcast.
“He is keen to further his career but does have some scepticism about the current set-up at Carrington regarding the fact there are supposedly five heads of recruitment currently operating.
“And also has doubts, or hasn’t been given reassurances over his exact remit nor his authority in terms of finalising transfers.
“That is holding up his decision in making the move from Amsterdam to Manchester.”
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United may find themselves better-suited to allay Van der Sar’s concerns, however.
There’s no longer five heads of recruitment, with the new setup meaning John Murtough and Darren Fletcher have bigger roles.
Solskjaer himself is able to veto transfer targets if necessary, so Van der Sar would be working with three men (in particular) should he come back.
Regarding the authority he’d want, the club’s stance on that is unclear.
But United do seem like they may consider a return for the Ajax CEO, especially with Woodward due to leave at the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Joel Glazer wrote an apology letter to supporters on Wednesday – acknowledging he got things wrong with the Super League idea.
“To all Manchester United supporters,” it read.
“Over the past few days, we have all witnessed the great passion which football generates, and the deep loyalty our fans have for this great club.
“You made very clear your opposition to the European Super League, and we have listened. We got it wrong, and we want to show that we can put things right.
“Although the wounds are raw and I understand that it will take time for the scars to heal, I am personally committed to rebuilding trust with our fans and learning from the message you delivered with such conviction.
“We continue to believe that European football needs to become more sustainable throughout the pyramid for the long-term. However, we fully accept that the Super League was not the right way to go about it.
“In seeking to create a more stable foundation for the game, we failed to show enough respect for its deep-rooted traditions –promotion, relegation, the pyramid – and for that we are sorry.
“This is the world’s greatest football club and we apologise unreservedly for the unrest caused during these past few days.
“It is important for us to put that right.
“Manchester United has a rich heritage and we recognise our responsibility to live up to its great traditions and values.
“The pandemic has thrown up so many unique challenges and we are proud of the way Manchester United and its fans from Manchester and around the world have reacted to the enormous pressures during this period.
“We also realise that we need to better communicate with you, our fans, because you will always be at the heart of the club.
“In the background, you can be sure that we will be taking the necessary steps to rebuild relationships with other stakeholders across the game, with a view to working together on solutions to the long-term challenges facing the football pyramid.
“Right now, our priority is to continue to support all of our teams as they push for the strongest possible finish to the season.
“In closing, I would like to recognise that it is your support which makes this club so great, and we thank you for that.
“With best regards, Joel Glazer.”
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