Gary Neville has picked out Manchester United’s top five signings of the Premier League era – but there is one glaring omission among the current crop at Old Trafford.
During his iconic career with United, former captain Neville played alongside some of the best players in the club’s history, including fellow academy products Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs.
He went on to win eight Premier League titles after graduating as part of the famous Class of 92 himself.
And that golden generation of talent was complemented with some of the most high-profile, successful signings in the competition’s near 30-year history.
Indeed, the likes of Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo feature in Neville’s top five, but there is no place for current United playmaker Bruno Fernandes – a central figure since making the move to Old Trafford just over 12 months ago.
Eric Cantona, Leeds United, 1992 (£1.2m)
Arguably THE bargain of the Premier League era, Cantona joined United for £1.2million in 1992. The rest, as they say, is history. ‘The King’ won four titles in just five seasons at Old Trafford as the club dominated English football’s then-revamped top division.
Roy Keane, Nottingham Forest, 1993 (£3.7m)
Another bargain, another unbelievable signing from Sir Alex Ferguson. Keane lifted four Premier League trophies as captain – winning seven in total before a high-profile bust-up with his former manager that led to him joining Celtic in 2005.
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Cristiano Ronaldo, Sporting Lisbon, 2003 (£12m)
Not only one of United’s best ever signings, Cristiano is perhaps the greatest footballer to ever walk the planet. He took his career to a new level upon joining Real Madrid, but there isn’t a United fan in the country that would leave him out of their top five.
Wayne Rooney, Everton, 2004 (£27m)
Now cutting his managerial teeth at Derby County, the former England captain tops the all-time goalscoring charts at Old Trafford and holds a significant place in the club’s history. Will his 253 goals for United ever be bettered? Even if they are, it won’t detract from what he achieved at United.
Nemanja Vidic, Spartak Moscow, 2006 (£7m)
There are several players who might have warranted a place in Neville’s top five, but that would have meant missing out the colossal Serbian centre-back, who comes in at number five having won five Premier League titles in addition to the Champions League in 2008.
Speaking in his role as a pundit on Sky Sports, Neville said: “Up front in my all-time United team that I played with, I have Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.
“But for the best signing that I think Manchester United have made, in terms of £1.2m from Leeds, it’s Cantona. Leeds at the time were enemies.
“To get a player off Leeds for £1.2m that takes you to the league title. It has to be the best signing – it’s unbelievable because he’s an unbelievable player as well.”