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Thursday 01 August 2013

On this day in 2001: Van der Sar lands at Fulham

Looking back at Premier League history, we recall newly promoted Fulham's summer transfer coup

  • Jean Tigana pulled off the coup of the summer by signing Van der Sar for Fulham

  • The Dutch international was persuaded to join by Tigana's ambitious plans for the club

  • Van der Sar saves a penalty from Newcastle's Alan Shearer during his first season

  • The 31-year-old pulls off a spectacular save from Chelsea's John Terry in April 2001

Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

On this day 1 August 2001: Fulham pull off Van der Sar coup

Fulham pulled off one of the summer's biggest transfer coups by signing Juventus goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.

"At Ajax, Juventus and with Holland I have played with top teams, and now I want to use my experience to reach the same goal with Fulham"
Edwin van der Sar

The Dutchman, a five-time Dutch Eredivisie title-winner at Ajax, had helped Juve finish runners-up in Serie A during his two years with the Bianconeri, but decided to move on after La Vecchia Signora bought Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon for a world-record fee.

But Jean Tigana pulled off a major surprise by persuading the Netherlands' first-choice shot-stopper to join a club that had only just earned promotion to the Barclays Premier League.

"I spoke with the manager about the way he wants to play," said the 30-year-old, who had been capped 44 times by his country. "Jean Tigana wants to go straight to the top with Fulham and I like that ambition. At Ajax, Juventus and with Holland I have played with top teams, and now I want to use my experience to reach the same goal with Fulham."

Tigana said: "We are delighted to welcome Edwin to Fulham. His ability has been proven at the highest level both domestically and internationally and he will be an asset to the squad."

Van der Sar helped Fulham finish in 13th place in the table in their first season back in the top tier and during his four years at Craven Cottage and 127 Barclays Premier League appearances, the west London side achieved consistent mid-table finishes.

Such were the quality of his performances that Sir Alex Ferguson came calling in 2005 and Van der Sar enjoyed six successful seasons at Old Trafford, making 186 top-flight appearances, winning four Barclays Premier league titles, two League Cups and the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League.

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Key Points

  • Premierleague.com looks back through the annals of history of the competition
  • A memorable event or match from each day of the year will be selected
  • We remember when Fulham achieved the coup of the summer by signing the Juventus goalkeeper