How will United replace the irreplaceable?

van der Sar showed us exactly what we'll be missing when he retires at the end of the seasonAs the years have ticked on, both Michael and van der Sar have seen their careers reach legend status.

United and Office fans alike find themselves wishing for just one more year, because saying goodbye is perhaps the hardest thing to do in life. Each have changed the way in which many perceived what it meant to be a United keeper and a manager on The Office and replacing either of the two will be a tricky job that will need to be done right by both Sir Alex Ferguson and NBC executives. The futures of both Manchester United and The Office depend on the right decision being made.

Many believed at first that both Anders Lindegaard and Will Farrell would be the eventual successors. Both are highly regarded and both were pursued for a long time. It was perhaps the worst kept secret in football and entertainment that Sir Alex wanted Lindegaard and NBC wanted Farrell. Yet both have stuttered a bit in their brief times with United and The Office, respectively. Farrell’s character, DeAngelo Vickers, has been less than convincing in the role as regional manager. Between messing up the Dundies and nearly losing one of Dunder Mifflin’s most important clients, Vickers has not been off to a great start. Additionally, Farrell has underwhelmed many of The Office‘s loyal viewers, even though they are aware that he has the potential to do the job based on previous performances.

And Anders Lindegaard is viewed by the United faithful much in the same way. Most of us know that Lindegaard is capable of being a number one keeper, judging off of his performances at the international level (one might say that his performance versus Portugal is his Anchorman). And like Vickers, has failed to inspire a high level of support from the United support. Like fans of The Office we are left wanting something more.

During the final episode of The Office with Steve Carrell as Michael Scott, the viewers were introduced to Scott/Carrell’s possible replacements: Ricky Gervais, Jim Carrey, James Spader, Ray Romano and Catherine Tate. I will now go through the potential van der Sar replacements and match them with their Carrell-replacing equivalents.

I personally think that Ricky Gervais is the perfect replacement for Steve Carrell, much in the same way that I believe Manuel Neuer is the best candidate to replace van der Sar. Both represent returns to original interpretations of how the office’s manager ought to behave and how a United keeper ought to conduct himself in the box. While I am not the biggest expert on Schmeichel, I would say that Neuer best duplicates his strong presence in the 18 yard box. Neuer has similar height to Schmeichel and is the Great Dane’s top choice to replace van der Sar next season. But both Gervais and Neuer seem unlikely candidates for their prospective roles. Gervais has his own show on HBO and will probably be more than content with it, while Neuer appears to be on the verge of joining Bayern Munich.

In many ways Igor Akinfeev reminds me of Ray Romano. Everybody seems to love Igor. But I think that given his newly signed extension at CSKA Moscow he is unlikely to make the jump to Old Trafford. Similarly, I doubt Ray Romano will want to ultimately take over for Carrell. He has built his own reputation thanks to his sitcomEverybody Loves Raymond and has done very well playing a woolly mammoth in theIce Age series. He is also committed to Men of a Certain Age and will more than likely limit his work to that series.

As my first choice for both United and The Office appears remote, I will move to the men I believe will be the eventual replacements for Carrell and van der Sar. The papers and the faithful were abuzz about United having already signed David De Gea of Atletico Madrid to become the next United number one. And I had a similar reaction to when I heard that Jim Carrey might replace Steve Carrell on The Office.Neither of the moves have become official as of yet, but both have the potential to pay dividends for United and NBC alike. Carrey has never played the main character on a comedy television show in spite of his obvious suitability for such a role. It could be a way to revitalize his career and it would give something new to a series that has been stagnant in many ways since Jim and Pam got married (one might say the same of United sides after Ronaldo and Tevez left).

At the end of last night’s episode of The Office Michael Scott left in a very Michael Scott sort of way. As he took off his mic, he said “I would like to get something off my chest” and then mouthed the words “that’s what she said!” to the cameraman as he walked away. I am hoping that van der Sar leaves United in much the same way that has characterized his time with the club, a Premier League and Champions League winner. Hopefully both Carrell and van der Sar’s replacements create a legacy of their own worthy of a similar reverence.

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