Manchester United Transfers: The Best and Worst of the Last 10 Years
With Manchester United reportedly on the verge of signing Borussia Dortmund's Shinji Kagawa, this article will look back on the past 10 years of the Red Devils' activity in the transfer market, rating the best, and the worst of their signings.
United are not short of bargain buys who have become superstars, but then the club has also bought its fair share of big-money flops.
Here are the pick of the bunch.
Best: Edwin van der Sar
Edwin van der Sar was already 34 years old when he completed a £2 million move from Fulham in 2005.
But during the following six years, he proved to Manchester United fans that it was possible to find a worthy replacement for club legend Peter Schmeichel.
The undoubted high point for the Dutch stopper during his time at United came at the climax of the 2008 Champions League final as he saved Nicolas Anelka's penalty to clinch the elusive trophy for the Reds.
A well spent £2 million.
Worst: Owen Hargreaves
Of all the big-money transfers that haven't worked out for Sir Alex Ferguson and United, that of Owen Hargreaves may just be the one that causes the long-serving manager the most disappointment upon reflection.
After a successful first season at United, the £17 million man suffered an injury in his left knee that would effectively prevent the Canadian-born midfielder from ever making a definitive impact at the club.
His injury woes persisted for three long years until he was finally released last summer having made only 27 league appearances for United.
Best: Cristiano Ronaldo
An easy inclusion on the list, Cristiano Ronaldo arrived at Manchester United in 2003 for the sum of £12.24 million.
Six years later, having scored 118 goals in all competitions, winning the Barclays Player of the Year award twice and receiving three Premier League trophies, Ronaldo left for Real Madrid for £80 million.
Probably Manchester United's best player of the past 10 years, the Portuguese attacker proved to be the most astute piece of business of Sir Alex's tenure.
An £80 million bargain for Madrid too!
Worst: The Crop of 2003
In the summer of 2003, Manchester United signed Eric Djemba-Djemba, David Bellion, Alan Smith and Kleberson for the total sum of £18.5 million.
Any one of these players could have made the list, but as it happened, they were all signed within a few months of each other, allowing me to include them as a collective.
Besides possibly Alan Smith, none had any real impact to speak of, and were all sold on for significantly less than they were bought for.
If it weren't for Ronaldo's arrival that year, United's transfer dealings of 2003 would be a milestone in poor business.
Best: Nemanja Vidic
Nemanja Vidic arrived at Manchester United from Spartak Moscow in the winter of 2005 without any real fanfare to speak of.
The £7 million signing has since become the mainstay of United's defence, and is now club captain, embodying the tough, hard-working spirit that Roy Keane had tried to instil during his tenure.
His absence this past season from the Reds' backline has been particularly noticeable, as the club limped to a second-place finish in the league.
His return from injury next season will be long overdue.
Considering the Portuguese winger cost United the same amount as Nemanja Vidic, his inclusion on the list is a no-brainer.
During his six appearances for United in the 2010/2011 season, Bebe resembled that of a practical joke, looking like a fan who had won a competition to play for the biggest club in the world.
He will be lucky if he ever plays for the Reds again, as Sir Alex will most likely look to get rid of the biggest embarrassment in Manchester United transfer history as quietly as possible.
Before anyone notices he was ever here.