Monday, June 07, 2010

24 years of Fergie transfers: The good, the bad and the indifferent...

The summer transfer window is open, but it doesn't look like Ferguson will be spending much money due to the dire financial situation at Manchester United, whose owners are £1.1bn in debt.

With little or no money to spend, now seems like a good time to analyse Fergie's spending during his 24 year reign as United manager.

The table below does not include players like Phil Neville who cost the club nothing and was allowed to leave on a free transfer. In some cases the transfer fee was undisclosed, therefore the totals cannot be replied upon.

In certain cases we have stated the player was sold prematurely, but Ferguson's judgement has proven to be totally vindicated in most cases - with the glaring exception of Gerrard Pique who is blossoming into one of Europe's finest defenders.

The table also confirms what many Manchester United supporters know, that is Ferguson is a great manager when he's given freedom to spend in the transfer market, but he hasn't always got it right when splashing the cash; players like Veron and Berbatov have divided opinion on their respective worth - what isn't in doubt is the vast transfer fees.

Ferguson cannot be blamed for paying over-inflated transfer fees - he doesn't negotiate fees or sign cheques - but, it could be argued there have been instances where the manager could have identified his targets before our rivals', as was the case with Spurs in relation to Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov.

Looking at Fergie's net spending, if you take away the £80m the club received from the sale of Ronaldo to Real Madrid last summer the figures look a lot worse. However, the manager's job is to win prizes and Ferguson has won 23 major honours, excluding one-off finals like the Charity Shield, Inter-continental Cup and the Super Cup. Ferguson has a transfer deficit of just over £152m, but set against this is the 23 major honours the club has won during his time at United; that's £6.6m per trophy, many fans would surely agree that's a price well worth paying and it is partly why Ferguson is the most successful British manager ever - up and until now the manager has been given sufficient funds to do the job.

Transfer fees rocketed towards the end of the 90s, but when you look back at some of Ferguson's early buys, the relative value of players like Cantona, Solksjaer and Schmeichel are nothing short of remarkable - what would those players fetch in today's hugely inflated transfer market?

Alex Notman 0.25Sold prematurely
Anderson15 Jury out: reports suggest could be sold
Andrie Kanchelskis0.65 Hit: Great signing, one of the most exciting wingers in the last 25 years
Andy Cole68Hit: One of Fergie's finest signings
Ben Foster1 Miss: Too many high-profile gaffes
Berbatov31 Indifferent: United would be lucky to recoup £15m - divides opinion
Brian Carey 0.25Sold prematurely
Brian McClair0.85 Hit: Good signing, but many fans would have preferred McCoist at the time (HOF)
Carrick18.5 Indiffferent: Fergie forced to over-pay massively, could be sold according to reports, his worth divides opinion
Dan Higginbottom 2Sold prematurely
Danny Wallace1.2 Mediocre: Eyebrows were raised when first signed
David Beckham 25Priceless hit: Sold on the cheap following bungled transfer
David Bellion2 Miss: Did not take opportunity
David Healy 1.5Sold prematurely
David Jones 1Sold prematurely
David May1.4 Mediocre: Won more medals than Alan Shearer
Denis Irwin0.625 Hit: Hall of Fame
Diego Forlan7.5 Indifferent: Divided opinion - but scored some important goals
Dion Dublin12Mediocre: Eyebrows were raised when first signed
Dwight Yorke12.52Hit: One of Fergie's best ever signings
Eric Cantona1.2 Hit: Hall of Fame
Eric Djemba-djemba3.51.3Disaster: A complete waste of money
Fabien Barthez7.8 Indifferent: Failed to live up to expectations, too many gaffes
Fraizer Campbell 3.5Sold prematurely
Gary Pallister2.32.5Hit: Glittering career with United (HOF)
Gordon Strachan0.50.3Indifferent: No doubts about star qaulity, Leeds got more out of him
Graeme Hogg 0.15Sold prematurely
Henning Berg51.75Hit: Proved to be useful if relatively expensive defender
Jaap Stam10.516.5Hit: Fergie made huge mistake when offloading big Dutchman to Lazio
Jasper Blomquist4.4 Indifferent: Dogged by injuries
Jim Leighton0.750.2Miss: Pressure was too much for the 'keeper known as 'Dracula'
Jon Greening 2Miss: Did not make grade, good business getting rid
Jon Spector 0.5Sold prematurely
Juan Veron28.115Disaster: An engima, great for his country failed miserably in England
Karel Poborsky3.52Miss: Failed to live up to billing
Keith Gillespie 1Sold prematurely: Never given chance to shine, sold as part of Cole deal
Kleberson5.92.5Disaster: A complete waste of money
Lee Sharpe 4.5Hit: Loved by the fans, but lost his way at United.
Liam O'Brien 0.25Miss: Mediocre signing
Mark Hughes1.81.5Hit: United legend
Mark Robins 0.8Sold prematurely
Micky Silvestre4 Indifferent: Good squad player, but made too many mistakes
Mike Phelan0.75 Indifferent: Mediocre player
Nani15 Improving: Emerging from Ronaldo's shadow
Neil Webb1.50.8Miss: Rarely recaptured his previous club form
Nemanja Vidic7 Hit: United could more than double their money if sold
Nicy Butt 2.5Hit: Local lad done good (HOF)
Ole Solskjaer1.5 Priceless Hit: Hall of fame
Owen Hargreaves17 Gamble gone wrong: Injuries, injuries and more injuries
Park4 Indifferent: Useful squad player but nothing more
Patrice Evra5 Hit: On the road to possible legend status
Paul Ince17Hit: Became known as 'Big Time Charlie' and for good reason
Paul McGrath 0.4Hit: Hall of Fame
Paul Parker2 Hit: Hall of Fame
Peter Davenport0.750.75Miss: Couldn't cut it at a big club
Peter Schmeichel0.55 Hit: United's best ever 'keeper by common consent (HOF)
Phil Bardsley 2Sold prematurely
Pique 5Sold prematurely: Could prove to be Fergie's biggest transfer mistake
Ricardo0.15 Miss: Wasn't up to playing for United
Richardson 5.5Miss: Excellent piece of business
Rio Ferdinand30 Hit: Grossly over-inflated transfer fee, excellent buy nonetheless
Ronaldo12.880Hit: Hall of Fame
Ronny Johnsen1.28 Hit: Plauged by injuries but secured his place in club history in '99
Rossi 5Sold prematurely: Good money for an unproven striker
Roy Carroll2.5 Miss: Bag of nerves
Roy Keane3.75 Hit: Hall of Fame
Ryan Shawcross 1Sold prematurely
Saha12.8 Miss: 'Sicknote' reportedly given to Everton on a free
Smith76Bad buy: United did well to recoup £6m
Steve Bruce0.8 Hit: Hall of Fame
Taibi4.52.5Disaster: One of Fergie's worst buys
Teddy Sheringham3.5 Hit: Took over from Cantona - earned his place in United's hall of fame
Tevez100Hit: United paid price for not securing his future
Tim Howard2.33Indifferent: Good business unfulfilled potential
Valencia16 Hit: Looking good
Van Nistelrooy1911Hit: Great signing, but had to go following major fall-out
Viv Anderson0.25 Hit: Was beyond his best when he arrived but did ok
Wayne Rooney20 Hit: On the road to legend status, Hall of Fame assured


  1. Interesting! Will love to compare it with the City spendings over the last 2-3 years!

    Just goes to show how SHITE manchester City is..

    Glory Glory :)

  2. Add - Henrik Larsson - best on loan signing ever


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