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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 15, 2006

Van der Sar pens new one-year deal at United

Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has agreed a new one-year contract extension with the Premiership leaders.

The veteran Dutchman has brought some much-needed stability to United's goalkeeping department since his arrival from Fulham in 2005.

Sir Alex Ferguson initially suggested last summer he would offer van der Sar the chance to stay at Old Trafford and, although the 36-year-old has not formally completed all the paperwork yet, the deal has now been done.

'Since Edwin joined us, he has been absolutely fantastic and he more than deserves another year,' said Ferguson.

'We treat all players in that age bracket the same in terms of giving them an extra year but that is not to say he cannot go on from there too.

'His personality and experience has helped us tremendously since he has joined us, which is what we needed.'

Ferguson first tried to buy Van der Sar as a replacement for Peter Schmeichel in 1999, only to find the former Ajax European Cup winner had already committed himself to Juventus.

The United boss admitted it was a situation he now regrets. After trying half-a-dozen alternatives - including Massimo Taibi, Mark Bosnich and Fabien Barthez - Ferguson is confident the `Schmeichel-effect' has now been cast aside.

'Edwin is the best goalkeeper we have had since Peter Schmeichel,' said Ferguson.

'I tried to change direction when Peter left and get Edwin in. I wish we had, but at the time there was nothing we could do.

'He is a winner. He has brought with him a strength of character; he really looks after himself and he trains very well.

'There are many players who, having achieved what he has done, want to take it easy. But he has a desire to carry on.

'He can go on until he is 40, as some goalkeepers have done.'

After securing a Carling Cup triumph in his first season at Old Trafford, van der Sar knows he is well-placed to add more meaningful silverware to his vast collection this season.

'I am absolutely delighted to extend my stay here,' he told the club website.

'Everything has gone well for me and the club and I am really looking forward to the next year and a half of my contract with Manchester United.

'Hopefully we can get some silverware and I look forward to a successful end to this season.'