Edwin van der Sar gets new deal and offers diplomatic answer over Erik ten Hag’s double raid on Ajax

Edwin-van-der-Sar Ajax September 2022

Edwin van der Sar has admitted that Erik ten Hag’s transfer window assault on Ajax has not been helpful for the Eredivisie club.

Van der Sar, who won four Premier League titles and the Champions League at Old Trafford, was the man negotiating with United officials. The 51-year-old, in his role at Ajax’s chief executive officer, did not have much option but to sell to Ten Hag over the summer.

United were busy in the transfer market after the arrival of Ten Hag from Ajax. Lisandro Martinez joined United for £51m and he was followed by Brazilian winger Antony, who signed for £85.5m.

Those two were not the only players that United tried to prise away from Amsterdam.

Jurrien Timber, Brian Brobbey and Edson Alvarez were also linked with following Ten Hag to Manchester. But Van der Sar eventually drew the line under Antony’s move which left the club little time to sign a replacement.

Speaking to BT Sport, Van der Sar said: “The fate that Ajax has, we always develop and scout very good players and sometimes young players, if they want to take the next step, they always go to England, Germany, Spain, that kind of thing.

The ‘fate’ of Ajax

“So, of course we’re losing Erik [ten Hag]. We knew we were losing already a great manager. And yeah, he’s not really helping us.

“Of course, he took two of our best players also [Antony and Martinez], we got a good transfer fee for them. And of course, that is the fate a little bit that Ajax has.

“But in general it’s always nice to see in the first [Champions League] match how can we cope with that? How are the players that are replacing? Calvin Bassey for example replacing Martinez.”

Previously Van der Sar, who played over 250 times for United, revealed Ajax had no real plans to sell Antony.

Van der Sar said: “It’s not very different than other times when you receive an offer through… I almost wanted to say through fax.. but this is no longer the case. Through e-mail.

“We said “no” because it was never our intention to sell Antony. Eventually there are offers coming in that make us reach a turning point.

“At the end of the day football is also a business. I understand the technical area wants to keep everyone together, but we don’t live in this perfect world.”

Van der Sar new deal

Van der Sar’s efforts in the transfer window have been well received by the club’s hierarchy. He was rewarded with a new deal on Friday to stay as Ajax’s CEO until 2025.

Not surprising when the £85.5m received from Antony alone is believed to have matched the club’s annual turnover.

“A lot has happened in the last ten years at Ajax. In these years we have grown with the club in many ways,” Van der Sar told Ajax’s website.

“The international recognition has, mostly due to the results of the first team, grown substantially. But there is also an amazing organization behind that success.

“Our goal is to become a structural part of the international top teams. Starting 2024, the design of the European tournaments will change, and we want to compete yearly in the renewed Champions League.

“That journey is not at an end, and I want to keep contributing to that process.”