Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Ferguson the 'lucky general' strikes again?...

Napoleon once said 'I'd rather have lucky generals than smart ones' or so the theory goes at any rate and many observers have stated that Sir Alex Ferguson comes into the 'lucky general' category, this is by and large due to some of the instinctive signings he's made down the years at Manchester United.

Two players from the past in particular spring to mind, Eric Cantona and Denis Irwin. Both were signed for less than £1m each - relative peanuts in today's terms, both turned out to be inspired signings who went on to serve United so well that they will always be remembered as two of United's best ever players.

Cantona was the catalyst who helped to bring about title success after 26 baron years, while Irwin was the model of consistency at the back, rarely putting a foot wrong during his brilliant United career, both were superb signings and not that many would have predicted just how successful both would be prior to their arrival at Old Trafford.

Cantona had been plying his trade with a club that didn't reflect his own persona. Eric and Leeds United never seemed like a match made in heaven, the Frenchman needed a much grander canvas to display his artistry, and so when he finally arrived at United it was as if he'd come home. The rest is history.

Ironically Denis Irwin had been released by Leeds United on a free transfer, he then signed for Oldham Athletic and did well, Fergie came in and snapped him up for £625,000, it was a fantastic deal for United.

Move forward to January 2007 and has Fergie the 'lucky general' done it again with the capture of Henrik Larsson? The former Barcelona player and Champions League winner last season had decided to move back to his homeland to play for Swedish club Helsingborgs, but Fergie moved in and signed him for three months, he was able to do so because of the late start the Swedish season.

Larsson made his debut against Aston Villa on Sunday and looked made for United, his movement and touch was marvellous and he was head and shoulders above all others in that FA cup tie, he capped-off a great display with a goal, but there was so much more to admire about his performance and if the rumours are true about the Reds extending his stay this season then the 'lucky general' may have struck another mighty blow for United in the title battle with rivals Chelsea.

At 35 years of age, we aren't thinking long term, but Larsson may well turn out to be another inspired signing, all Reds will be hoping so for sure.

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