The brilliance of Sir Alex Ferguson as a manager is utterly undeniable. The mastermind secured 13 Premier League titles and two UEFA Champions Leagues during his 26 years of unmatched services to the Red Devils.
His remarkable feats were achieved by a cleverly and intricately formed group of players that he targeted and brought the best out of. Some, he plucked out of the youth academy, others he signed. And now, the Scottish managing legend has revealed his top signings.
In a past interview with the club website, Ferguson revealed details regarding his best signings, and how he rated them. He served a tenure that saw the likes of Eric Cantona, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Wayne Rooney grace the Old Trafford pitch adorned in the red jersey.
When enquired as to whether Cantona was his best signing, he answered: “Well, in terms of value, Eric was around £1m, Peter Schmeichel was £500,000, Brian McClair was £800,000 – they were all fantastic. Paul Ince was a million and a half and we sold him for eight, Ruud van Nistelrooy was value in terms of selling him, and the players we produced ourselves after signing them as schoolboys, they’re total profit.”
However, the veteran manager didn’t leave out what was probably the club’s best bit of business under him. He continued: “Then you have Cristiano Ronaldo, £12m to £80m! If you’re talking about the best players in terms of value, then Schmeichel, Cantona, McClair, Ronaldo – unbelievable.”
Monetary profits and bargain purchases alone were not what he considered to be important for a signing, as he went on to reckon: “But to analyze the signing as it was without talking about money, Eric certainly brought a great confidence to the team, there’s no doubt about that.”
Cantona was one of the finest players ever to render services to the Red Devils, and this wasn’t missed by the boss: “He brought an arrogance, and for him personally, it was as if he had come to the place he always wanted to be. You could tell he would fit in straight away.”
Undeniably the other good bits of business by the man were Peter Schmeichel and Cristiano Ronaldo. The Great Dane is arguably their best goalkeeper, and has statistically secured the maximum amount of clean sheets for the side. The shot-stopper was signed from Brondby in 1991.
Furthermore, Ronaldo’s impact need not be commented upon, as the world-class forward still continues to amaze the spectators on the global game. His arrival from Sporting CP back in 2003 was a move written in the stars, destined to succeed.
All of them contributed to a gala and illustrious period at Manchester United, an era riddled with achievements and an astonishingly entertaining brand of football – a saga that the current set of players are hungry and determined to ape, and perhaps go even one further.
Written by Naveen Kelvin
A writer trying to craft the poetry within football. Purpose in life is to Make Good Art.