Javier Hernandez looks increasingly as though he might prove to be one of Fergie’s better finds in the transfer market, especially following his crucial brace against Stoke. But who have proved to be some of the mighty Scot’s best signings?
Patrice Evra (2006) – A toss up between Evra and Vidic, Evra shades it for being cheaper. One of the few examples of a good January signings, the Frenchman cost United just £5.5million in 2006. Despite a slightly shaky start, Evra has since established himself as an essential player at United, and one of the world’s best left-backs.
Cristiano Ronaldo (2003) – It may have seemed questionable at the time to splash over £12million on an unproven teenager. But Ronaldo proved to be a superb player at United; integral in the side that won the league three times in a row, and scoring an incredible 42 goals in the 2007-08 season. A pretty decent profit was made on him too, following his £80million sale to Real Madrid.
Eric Cantona (1992) – The story of Cantona’s move to United has been told a million times, but at £1.2million, too good a transfer to leave out here. After Howard Wilkinson had decided he couldn’t work with the (admittedly difficult) Frenchman, Fergie snapped him up, and Cantona remains one of the most gifted footballers to grace the Premier League.
Denis Irwin (1990) – The Irishman had been playing in the old Division 2 (the proper old one) with Oldham before Fergie picked him up for just £625,000. An inspired piece of business, Irwin stayed in United’s first team for 12 years, winning seven league titles, four domestic cups, and two European trophies. Adept at either right or left back, Irwin was also quality with set pieces, taking penalties and free kicks for United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (1996) – Solskjaer cost United just £1.5million in the summer of 1996, with the idea that he’d be a squad player behind Eric Cantona and Andy Cole. Solskjaer’s predatory instinct soon gave him more first team opportunities, and wound up staying with the club until his retirement in 2007 (and beyond: he’s currently reserve team manager). Earned a place in Manchester United history with the winner in the 1999 Champions League final.