Article written

  • on 06.11.2012
  • at 11:41 AM
  • by KT

Sir Alex Ferguson’s 26 years at Old Trafford | Fergie’s best and worst signings

Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates 26 years at the Manchester United helm this week and during that time he has brought over 100 players into Old Trafford.

Many of course have been successful. Others have been… well Veron and Bebe to name a couple.

Fergie himself cites Ralph Milne as his worst signing at Manchester United but here we take a look at what we think are his best, and worst, signings since he took over the club in 1986.


Peter Schmeichel (1991-99)
Arguably Manchester United’s greatest ever ‘keeper, Schmeichel was signed for under £800,000, a bargain given the impact he made at the club. He was an unbelievable shot-stopper and terrified all those around him (just ask Bruce and Pallister). He was such a success that it took Fergie almost 6 years to find an adequate replacement in the form of Edwin van der Sar.

Eric Cantona (1992-97)
Recently voted by the fans as United’s greatest ever player, ‘The King’ will be remembered as much for his kung-fu kick as he will for his goals, but there’s no doubting that the Frenchman’s arrival was a huge contributor to the mid-90s success at the club.

Roy Keane (1993-2005)
Whilst not one of the technically best players to grace the Old Trafford pitch, Keane’s 12 year stint at the club will be fondly remembered by the fans. Signed as a long-term replacement for Bryan Robson, Keane was the driving force behind a team that often steam-rolled opponents. He left for Celtic in November 2005, after a bust up with the Old Trafford hierarchy, but by then he was already a United legend.

Cristiano Ronaldo (2003-09)
Seen as an expensive signing by the media when brought in for £12m+ from Sporing Lisbon in 2003, Ronaldo was drafted in after Fergie’s players raved about the Portuguese winger after facing him in a friendly. It took a year or 2 for Ronaldo to cement a pace in the team but he would then blossom into one of the greatest players on the plant, being United’s best player for several years before moving on to Real Madrid for a world record £80m fee.

Wayne Rooney (2004-Present Day)
Fergie brought a young Wayne Rooney in to Old Trafford from Everton for a £27m fee, a player that would soon present himself on the world stage at Euro 2004. After scoring a hat-trick on his Champions League debut, Rooney has grown to be one of United’s most influential players, filling the gap left by Ronaldo as the focal point of the team. Who knows, maybe Rooney could even go on to become United’s all-time leading goalscorer.


Massimo Taibi (1999-200)
Signed in 1999 following the retirement of Peter Schmeichal, Taibi was responsible for one of the Premier League’s biggest howlers to date, alloweing a weak effort from Matt Le Tissier to sneak through his legs and into the back of the net. Just a couple of games later, the Italian conceded 5 goals at Stamford Bridge and would never play for the club again, after pulling on the shirt just four times in all.

Juan Sebastian Veron (2001-03)
Despite winning the title in 2003, Veron was deemed one of the biggest Old Trafford flops of all. He was brought it for £28.1m from Lazio, but unable to cement a place in the team alongside Roy Keane and Paul Scholes, Veron was moved on to Chelsea for just £15m after 2 years at the club.

Kleberson (2003-05)
Fergie wanted Ronaldinho and somehow ended up with Kleberson. From the first time he played for United he looked out of his depth and the fans were soon on his back, failing to settle in the Premier League. He did however make 30 appearances for United, but was sold to Besiktas for £3m, despite Fergie having paid more than double that just 2 years prior.

Eric Djemba-Djemba (2003-05)
“Eric Djemba-Djemba: So bad they named him twice.” Signed from Nantes for £3.5m, Djemba-Djemba was hailed as a long-term successor to Roy Keane. But after a few games it was clear that the Cameroon midfielder was never up to the task and was shipped out after just 18 months at Old Trafford. Despite being one of Fergie’s worst signings, he does redeem himself somewhat for persuading Aston Villa to part with £1.3m for his services.

Bebe (20010-present)
Bebe must have one of the greatest agents in world football. Despite being offered to PSV Eindoven for £125,000 in May 2010 (an offer they rejected due to the high fee) Bebe somehow found himself on the Old Trafford books come August of that year, after signing for the club for £7.3m (€9m, €3.5m of which went to the players agent). Recommneded for Fergis’s former assistant Carlos Queiroz, Bebe has just 7 appearances to his name, with just 2 in the Premier League.

Are there any players you think we might have missed? Let us know who would make your list of top 5 best/worst Fergie signings.

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