Manchester United: Ranking Sir Alex Ferguson's 6 Best Transfer Finds in Europe

Max TowleAnalyst IMarch 6, 2013

Manchester United: Ranking Sir Alex Ferguson's 6 Best Transfer Finds in Europe

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    Like all top clubs, Manchester United have made their fair share of big-money signings over the years. But it has been the bargain transfers that make fans of the Red Devils especially proud of their favourite club.

    A good number of the most legendary footballers to have played under boss Sir Alex Ferguson were relatively unknown when they first moved to Old Trafford.

    These are the players who were poached from relatively obscure foreign clubs with little more than a scout's recommendation.

    Here are Fergie's six best transfer finds in Europe.

6. Andrei Kanchelskis

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    Coming in at No. 6 is flying Russian winger Andrei Kanchelskis.

    The little-known Kanchelskis signed for the Red Devils for £650,000 from Shakhtar Donetsk in 1991, quickly becoming a regular fixture in the first team, replacing Mike Phelan of all people.

    He was a key player in the Premier League-winning sides of 1993 and 1994 and was United's top goalscorer in the 1994/95 season.

    Though he was sold to Everton for £5 million in 1995 following a falling out with Sir Alex, Kanchelskis is fondly thought of by many United fans who wax lyrical about his wicked pace and trickery.

5. Ruud Van Nistelrooy

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    At the peak of his Old Trafford career, Ruud van Nistelrooy was one of the most prolific and deadly strikers in Europe.

    Arriving from PSV in the Eredivisie in 2001, the Dutch hitman immediately set about scoring goals for fun, eventually striking 150 times in only 219 appearances in all competitions for United.

    Ruud's most memorable season came in 2002/03 where he led the Red Devils to Premier League glory with 25 goals, with many jaw-dropping strikes that defied his reputation as a poacher.

    Like Kanchelskis, Van Nistelrooy and Sir Alex later fell out following the Dutchman's sale, but have since patched up their differences (via the Daily Mail).

4. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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    While at Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was responsible for one of the most memorable moments in football history.

    His last-gasp winner in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich is what fans remember him most for, but the Norwegian was a loyal player for the Red Devils for over a decade.

    He scored 126 goals in 366 total appearances for the club, including 20 in European competition.

    It seems incredible to think he only cost Sir Alex £1.5 million when he made the switch from Molde in 1996.

3. Nemanja Vidic

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    Current captain of the club Nemanja Vidic has been one of the best central defenders to have ever played under Sir Alex Ferguson.

    The Serbian arrived at Old Trafford from Spartak Moscow in early 2006 having cost the Scotsman only £7 million.

    He has since won four Premier League titles and lifted the Champions League and FIFA World Club Cup trophies in 2008.

    Vidic is best-known for his domineering strength and aerial ability and is still keeping clean sheets alongside regular partner Rio Ferdinand in the United back line today.

2. Peter Schmeichel

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    Having signed for United for only £505,000 in 1991, Sir Alex once deemed Peter Schmeichel the "bargain of the century" (via BBC).

    The towering Danish goalkeeper played the majority of his career at Old Trafford, winning the Premier League five times, the FA Cup on three occasions and the Champions League once.

    He was one of the most intimidating footballers on the planet, controlling his penalty area with an immense presence—both physical and mental.

    Not many had heard of Schmeichel while he plied his trade at Brondby, but under Sir Alex he quickly became a household name.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

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    At the time of writing, it has been less than 24 hours since a Cristiano Ronaldo goal dumped Manchester United out of the Champions League.

    It is testament to the Portuguese superstar's enduring legacy at Old Trafford that this will not dim his reputation in the eyes of fans of the club.

    Signed from Sporting Lisbon for £12.24 million in 2003, he quickly earned cult status for his astonishing array of tricks and sheer God-given talent.

    Now breaking hearts for Real Madrid, if he were to one day rejoin for the Red Devils, he'd hardly qualify as a "find" again.

     

    Who else could have been included on this list? Do you agree with the rankings?