“Looking back, I should have done it.”
Oliver Kahn has said that Alex Ferguson is still unhappy with him for rejecting a move to Manchester United. The legendary Germany goalkeeper was on the Red Devils’ radar in the early 2000s, but he opted to remain with Bayern Munich.
Kahn came up against Man United several times during his long career. He was in goal for the 1999 Champions League final when Ferguson’s side recorded an incredible comeback victory in stoppage time to win the game 2-1.
Kahn, who retired in 2008, says he has some regrets about rejecting the move.
Oliver Kahn: Alex Ferguson is still mad that I rejected a move to Man United.
“Sir Alex Ferguson is still mad at me today,” Kahn told German publication Bild.
“He thought that I would move to Man United in 2003 or 2004. But I was more interested in trying to define an era at Bayern.
“Looking back, I should have done it then. It would have been a nice challenge for me.”
Kahn had a tremendously successful career with Bayen, helping them win eight Bundesliga titles, six German Cups and the Champions League.
Kahn is rightly remembered as one of the goalkeepers of his generation. Ferguson seemingly saw him as having the ability and personality to succeed Schmeichel.
Alex Ferguson’s search for a successor to Schmeichel.
Ferguson spent the best part of a decade trying to find a suitable replacement for Schmeichel. The Danish goalkeeper left Man United for Sporting Lisbon in 1999, after eight phenomenally successful seasons at Old Trafford.
Schmeichel proved a tough act to follow. Mark Bosnich, Fabien Barthez, Tim Howard and Roy Carroll all tried but didn’t reach the Dane’s high standards at Old Trafford.
In his second autobiography, Ferguson cites various reasons for the goalkeeping issues Man United experienced after Schmeichel’s departure.
Ferguson on Man United’s goalkeepers.
“From the minute Schmeichel left to join Sporting Lisbon in 1999 – and having missed out on Van der Sar – I was throwing balls in the air, hoping one would land in the right place.
“Raimond van der Gouw was a terrific, steady goalkeeper, and a very loyal and conscientious trainer, but he wouldn’t have been the No. 1 choice.
“Mark Bosnich was, in my opinion, a terrible professional, which we should have known. Massimo Taibi just didn’t work out and he returned to Italy, where he rejuvenated his career. Fabien Barthez was a World Cup-winning goalkeeper, but it’s possible that the birth of his child back in France affected his concentration, because he was going back and forth a lot. He was a good lad, a fine shot-stopper and a good fielder of the ball. But when a keeper loses his concentration, he’s in trouble.”
Edwin van der Sar joined Man United from Fulham in 2005 and Ferguson finally had a worthy successor to Schmeichel.
The Dutch goalkeeper was a key part of the team’s success over the next six years, helping United win four Premier League titles and the Champions League.
Van der Sar saved the decisive penalty in the 2008 Champions League final shootout victory over Chelsea.