By 90Min
October 04, 2017

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has claimed that he turned down the chance to join Liverpool in 1999, despite visiting Anfield and meeting then Reds manager Gérard Houllier.

The Dutchman instead opted to join Juventus before the turn of the century after allowing his contract with Ajax to expire, ending a nine-year spell in Amsterdam.

"When I left Ajax in 1999, I travelled to Liverpool and spoke to Houllier,” the 46-year-old says in an upcoming issue of 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."

Van der Sar went on to make 66 Serie A appearances with the Bianconeri, keeping an impressive 34 clean sheets in two years. The Dutchman then completed a rather unusual transfer, swapping Turin for Greater London to join Fulham in 2001 in a deal that set the Cottagers back €10m. Van der Sar spent four years with Fulham before joining United in 2005.

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

Stuart Franklin/GettyImages

"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," van der Sar added.

"I found out that United were going to sign me when I discovered a voicemail from Ferguson. 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."

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