Without wishing to take anything for granted, the best news to come out of a disappointing weekend for Manchester United was a surprise comment made by goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. The Dutch veteran has long stated a definite intention to hang up his gloves at the end of the season yet he has now revealed that a possibility may still exist for him to carry on for another year. It may be a long shot but at least it provides a glimmer of hope that finding a replacement may not be as urgent a task as it appears to have been for Sir Alex Ferguson.
“I do ask myself sometimes why I’m retiring” van der Sar told The News of the World “a lot of people have spoken to me about precisely this question. Physically, I don’t need to stop. I’m still as fit as a fiddle, although nobody can carry on playing for ever. Now that I’ve passed 40, I feel quite simply that this is the best time to stop. This is a decision I have not made on my own – I also consulted my wife Annemarie, my solicitor Rob Jansen and my manager Alex Ferguson. After I’d spoken to Ferguson last year we both came to the conclusion that it would be best if this were to be my final season.”
It does not sound like a cast iron decision to retire even though the odds must still be against VDS continuing. It may take a large dose of Ferguson’s well known power of persuasion to convince his keeper to continue. Many replacements have been considered including the highly rated Manuel Neuer and David de Gea yet there has to be grave doubts surrounding both.
Neither one appear to be completely certain that leaving their country for Old Trafford is what they most desire raising huge question marks as to their suitability. If van der Sar can be persuaded to heed the call by fans for ‘One More Year’ it will give Sir Alex the breathing space needed to ensure that he gets the right replacement.
Any point in signing any player who is not desperate to come to United?