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Edwin van der Sar names the massive mistake Manchester United made in 1999

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Edwin van der Sar joined Manchester United from Fulham for just £2m in 2005 at the grand old age of 34.

The veteran Dutch goalkeeper spent six years at Old Trafford, winning four Premier League titles and one Champions League trophy under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Van der Sar has won several individual awards, including Best European Goalkeeper in 1995 and 2009, and UEFA Club Goalkeeper of the Year in 2009.

He's considered one of the great Manchester United goalkeepers alongside the likes of Peter Schmeichel but, if Ferguson got his way, he would've joined six years earlier.

Speaking to FourFourTwo in their November edition of the magazine, Van der Sar revealed a terrible mistake the Red Devils made in 1999.

Rejecting Liverpool

He had already earned legend status at Manchester United before he admitted to rejecting their arch-rivals Liverpool.

“When I left Ajax in 1999, I travelled to Liverpool and spoke to Houllier,” he told FourFourTwo.

“I was shown around Anfield and also met with the chairman and a couple of the players. I thought about it, but when Juventus came to the table I came to the conclusion that it would be a bigger challenge to play in Italy.”

Manchester United's huge mistake

Sir Alex Ferguson also wanted to bring the Dutch goalkeeper to England in the summer of 1999.

“I found out that Ferguson had always been really keen on signing me. But the chairman of United had a deal to sign Mark Bosnich on a free instead.

“So the idea had always been for me to succeed Peter Schmeichel, but it ended up taking six years longer than planned and they tried out some other keepers in that period.

In retrospect, it was an absolutely awful decision to choose Bosnich over Van der Sar.

The Australian goalkeeper moved to Chelsea after two underwhelming seasons at Old Trafford and Ferguson later described him as a "terrible professional" in his 2013 autobiography.

Massimo Taibi, Fabien Barthez, Roy Carroll, Tim Howard, Raimond van der Gouw, Nick Culkin, Ricardo, Andy Goram and Paul Rachubka all featured between the sticks in the six-year period between Schmeichel's departure and Van der Sar's belated arrival.

“I found out that United were going to sign me when I discovered a voicemail from Ferguson," said Van der Sar. "That was a special day. That was the moment I thought: ‘This is why I came over to London – to eventually make this next step forward.’

“Ferguson told me he needed someone who could lead and give guidance to the defence. He said he knew I wouldn’t get flustered if the side was under pressure.”

Van der Sar delivered that and more.

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Edwin Van der Sar
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