Sir Alex Ferguson has made a few mistakes in the transfer window throughout his 25-years at Manchester United, but today I’ll be looking at his top 5 signings. There’s been quite a few successful buys, so if you agree or disagree, leave a comment below with your reason for doing so.
5. Wayne Rooney – £28 million
At the age of 16, Wayne Rooney was said to have been England’s hottest property. He was always a physical center forward with an incredible long range shooting ability. After raising eyebrows when performing for Everton and England, Newcastle were leading the race to snap him up. That is until Sir Alex showed interest and signed him as an 18-year-old for £28 million. Still within his peak at 26, it looks like his best years are ahead of him, so when re-writing this piece in a couple of years, Rooney might be closer to my number one.
4. Peter Schmeichel – £530,000
In 1991, Ferguson went and signed what later became the club’s greatest ever goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel. Like David de Gea this season, Schmeichel made some horrific blunders in his first few appearances, but when he got to grips with the English game there was no looking back. I can’t think of a goalkeeper with the same ability to prevent threatening one-on-one’s like the Great Dane – it was one of his many advantages. For such a big guy reaching 6 foot 4 inches (1.93 meters), his reactions for getting down into the bottom corners were just incredible. Peter’s long and accurate goal kicks also set United up for a number of attacks, in which many ended as goals. The best complement you could give Schmeichel is the fact that it took over 6-years to find a replacement for him.
3. Roy Keane – £3.75 million
The chant that’s still sang in bars before games about Keano, not signing for Blackburn or Arsenal ‘cos they’re sh*te pretty much sums up the whole transfer that went through on 19th July 1993. Blackburn were in the money at the time and Kenny Dalglish was in charge. Kenny wanted all the paper work finalised on that Friday afternoon, but there wasn’t anybody available in the Ewood Park offices, so the Irish midfielder couldn’t sign until Monday. Sir Alex seen the chance and invited Keane around to his house for a game of snooker, where they negotiated. Instead of promising the club’s future captain lots of money like Blackburn did, Ferguson gave him an insight into the direction the team was heading for. Trophies, in other words. Dalglish got embarrassed and threatened to sue Keane for every penny he had. Nothing came of it and Kenny looked the exact fool, he does today.
On the pitch, Roy Keane was a true leader with a heart of a lion. He put his teammates first in every situation, no matter what. Examples of that are when he took on Patrick Veria, who thought he’d get the better of Gary Neville down the tunnel before a Premier League clash. His performance in the semi-final of the Champions League in 1999 is unforgettable. Getting a yellow card early on to show everybody that he meant business, before running a one man show scoring that all important goal to get the lads into the final, which they won in dramatic fashion.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo – £12.24 million
In the inauguration of the Estádio José Alvalade in Lisbon, Manchester United took on Sporting Lisbon and lost 3-1. After the game, Gary Neville and a few other players were extremely impressed with Cristiano Ronaldo’s performance, therefore, they urged the boss to go out and sign him, which he did that very summer. Becoming the first Portuguese footballer to sign for Manchester United, Ronaldo must have felt the pressure to succeed. However, that wasn’t a problem for him – I haven’t ever come across a person with so much self confidence. Four years after signing for United, Cristiano went on to collect the Ballon D’or award after helping United win the European Cup against Chelsea in Moscow. Ronaldo was top scorer for three consecutive season’s before signing (£80 million) for Real Madrid in 2009.
1. Eric Cantona – £1.2 million
I think most Manchester United fans have been influenced by Eric Cantona, and wish all footballers would act in the same way as he did. For me, Cantona was a role model. He always put his team first, like Keane, and wasn’t the type of person to make a big fuss about anything. Role model some may complain as being over the top, when they think about the incident that occurred when Matthew Simmons, a Crystal Palace supporter verbally abused Cantona from the crowd. As a result, The King jumped in mid-air and gave the fan a ‘kung fu’ kick to the face.
There was a certain power and prominence about Cantona that everybody noticed. Whenever he got on the ball you expected something special to happen – Sir Alex shares that power and prominence too. His celebration after scoring that beautiful chip against Sunderland was just magic. It gave the impression that this guy was the real deal, which he was.