Manchester United’s search for a director of football has been a long and fruitless one, though a report today says that Edwin van der Sar features highly on their ‘most wanted’ list for the role.
For almost 12 months now, Manchester United have been reportedly interested in restructuring the clubs hierarchy, appointing a director of football for the first time in the clubs history to take some of the pressure from executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward.
Firstly, it was said that the Red Devils would make the appointment last season ahead of the summer transfer window, and then when that didn’t happen, it would be made in the summer, and that didn’t happen either, with United going on to make just three signings, failing to strengthen their midfield or striking options.
There have been a number of men linked with the new role, including RB Leipzig’s Paul Mitchell, formerly of Southampton and Spurs, though reports have since claimed that Mr Woodward had changed the criteria for the job, with the United chief wanting someone with club connections.
That led to speculation around Rio Ferdinand, Darren Fletcher and Patrice Evra, who are all thought to have held talks about the job, though according to the Mirror today, former Champions League winning goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar is among their ‘most wanted’.
I don’t think it’s all been outlined at Man United in terms of ‘that’s the job and this is the description’ – Rio Ferdinand
In his role as CEO of Ajax, the former United ‘keeper has done an excellent job in restoring the Dutch club back toward their former glories, reaching last seasons Champions League semi-final, as well as winning their first Eredivisie title since 2014 last season, as well as producing some of Europe’s hottest young talent such as Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt, now at Barcelona and Juventus respectively.
Whether van der Sar could be tempted into a United return is yet to be seen of course, and there is no suggestion within the article that talks have actually taken place.
In fact, the report says that the Dutchman’s departure from the Johan Cruyff arena would be seen as ‘a betrayal by fans in Holland’ while citing the health of his wife as another potential stumbling block, who suffered a brain haemorrhage back in 2009.
One other issue could be Woodward’s apparent reluctance to relinquish too much power, with reports having said that the new role of technical director will not be directly responsible for transfers.