Football News

Edwin van der Sar: How hesitation cost Liverpool the chance to sign a Man Utd record-breaker

By Steve Jennings

Published: 18:49, 15 October 2019

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has revealed he may have signed for Liverpool in 2001 had the Merseysiders not hesitated to get a deal over the line.

Van der Sar had options when he decided to leave Juventus in 2001 and eventually chose Fulham despite interest from Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund.

What did Liverpool miss out on? Five things to know…

  • Van der Sar joined Fulham instead of Liverpool in 2001.
  • He spent four years at Craven Cottage before moving to Manchester United.
  • The Dutchman won four Premier League titles and the Champions League under Sir Alex Ferguson.
  • He went a Premier League record 1,032 minutes without conceding a goal in 2009.
  • Van der Sar also made 130 appearances for his country.

But he has now admitted things could have turned out very differently had Liverpool been more eager to sign him from Juventus before Fulham sealed a deal.

“I had two options and could have changed to Liverpool or Dortmund,” Van der Sar told German outlet t-online. “But both clubs hesitated a bit so, in the end, I chose Fulham.”

After four years with Fulham, Van der Sar went on to become one of Manchester United’s most decorated goalkeepers, winning four Premier League titles and the Champions League.

And the Dutchman has no regrets about his six years at Old Trafford – where he set the Premier League record for minutes without conceding a goal (1,032) in 2009 – suggesting a move to Germany was never really on the cards.

“I had six great years there,” he said. “At the end of my time, I was already 40 years old, that was already a certain age.

“I think that was just too old for the Bundesliga.”

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“Neuer and Ter Stegen are both extremely good”

Van der Sar was also asked about the German national team goalkeeper situation, which continues to divide onlookers.

Joachim Löw is split between retaining Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer between the sticks or allowing Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen to take over, and Van der Sar says it is difficult to separate the two when it comes to ability.

He added: “I’m not the coach of the German national team, so, fortunately, I do not have to deal with this question. I do not know who to choose.

“But I can say: they are both extremely good goalkeepers. The national coach will decide which of them will fit better into the system at the end.”