Edwin van der Sar admits Manchester United are one of only two clubs he would ever consider working at in a boardroom role as he needs a “feeling” for the organisation.
The 50-year-old has been employed as the CEO of Ajax since 2016, following four years as the club’s marketing director. As a player, he made 312 appearances in all competitions for the Amsterdam giants.
The former Netherlands goalkeeper also spent two seasons with Juventus and four at Fulham. He moved to Old Trafford in 2005, ending his career after six years and 266 outings for the Red Devils.
Van der Sar always came across as an intelligent man during his playing days. And it seemed inevitable that he would move into an administrative role.
He was given the chance at Ajax and has taken it with both hands, winning plaudits for his work behind the scenes.
He had been tipped as a possible director of football at United. The Dutchman admitted that he was approached “a couple of years ago”.
However, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is standing down in 2021 and Van der Sar’s name has been mentioned as a possible successor.
Only time will tell if the north-west giants do decide to go down that route. And the former shot-stopper confessed that his connection to the club means it is something he would consider.
“[With] the work and pressure, you should have a feeling with the club,” he told ESPN Netherlands. “I could do the things Ronald de Boer is doing – he works for us at Ajax and also here for you guys [ESPN]. He has more freedom than me, he has a good life.
“The pressure is different and I won’t work at a club where I don’t have a feeling. I could only do this for Ajax or United. I would not work for any other clubs.”
Van der Sar happy with Ajax role
Ajax have already wrapped up the Eredivisie title in 2020-2021 while they also lifted the KNVB Cup. They have been the dominant force in Dutch football for years.
Success on the European stage has not been so easy as they have become a selling club. Van der Sar has made no secret of that fact he likes to see the club develop players before being sold on.
And he has been happy to do business with United. It remains to be seen if he is tempted by a prominent role at the Theatre of Dreams.
But, at present, the man capped 130 times by his nation is content to carry on the good work in the capital.
“I am really happy with how we have [developed] Ajax in the last couple of years,” he added. “We had ambitions 10 years ago to reach the top of Europe.
“We have reached that. We had to work really hard, we don’t have a rich owner and the government didn’t help us.”