Man Utd icon’s seven worst buys, including hopeless goalie and his latest signing – the Sun
SIR ALEX FERGUSON is widely regarded as the greatest Premier League manager of all time.
The Scotsman absolutely dominated the division with Manchester United, winning 13 of the top 21 editions of the renowned league before retiring in 2013.
Legends Alan Shearer and Ian Wright unanimously agreed from a MOTD Top Ten podcast that Ferguson was easily the league’s biggest boss – and it’s easy to see why.
Master of motivation, psychological genius, Fergie was a supreme decision maker in the hot seat of Old Trafford.
From Bruce and Pallister to Ronaldo and Rooney – Ferguson was adept at making perfect acquisitions across the court.
But not all of them left …
We’re looking at some of those rough diamonds that could never be quite polished.
Bebe’s whirlwind rise from shelter in one of Lisbon’s poorest areas to £ 7.4million at Manchester United was inspiring … his career at Old Trafford was a disaster.
In just 18 months, the 20-year-old had gone from amateur football for local club Loures to signing several million pounds for the England champions.
After a year playing in the third tier of Portuguese football, Bebe transferred to top club Vitoria Guimaraes in the summer of 2010.
After a strong preseason performance, however, he found himself packing his bags just five weeks after arriving – because the Red Devils had honored his release clause.
He was clearly not ready for the ramp-up and suffered the humiliation of being substituted against Wolves himself in November 2010.
This quickly led Bebe to become a joking figure at Old Trafford, despite having managed cup goals against Bursaspor and Wolves.
He was quickly put on the farm on various loans before leaving United in 2014, signing for Portuguese giant Benfica but finding their first team just as difficult to crack.
After a stint at Eibar, the 29-year-old currently resides in Spain’s second tier with Rayo Vallecano – for whom he has scored three goals this season.
Brazilian Kleberson arrived at Manchester United with great fanfare in 2003, having played in his country’s World Cup victory the previous year – even playing all 90 minutes of the final.
The Red Devils beat competition from Barcelona, Leeds United and Celtic for his signing – but his stint at Old Trafford was an unfortunate failure.
The lack of Portuguese-speaking colleagues led to the isolation of the £ 6.5million signing, quickly losing the confidence to produce the flair he had so often exemplified for Atletico Paranaense and Brazil.
He left Old Trafford for £ 2.5million after just two years and 30 appearances, later recounting the MEN: “When the team is not doing well it’s hard to change your style, I couldn’t do it, when I got to Man United I tried to change the player I was, no more assists , more aggression, more tackles, but it’s too hard and it wasn’t my game.
“From 17 to 24 years old, I played this Brazilian style fluently, to move the ball quickly and receive it in space.
“At Man United I had a tough time most of the time, had a lot of injuries and struggled a lot.”
Now 40, Kleberson coaches the academy on the US side of the Philadelphia Union.
In 1999 Ferguson had a problem.
After reaching the peak of his career, a historic treble sealed that famous night in Barcelona, Peter Schmeichel left Old Trafford for Sporting Lisbon.
The Dane had been a mainstay of United’s success and his gloves were always going to be difficult to fill.
Unfortunately, Taibi didn’t even come close.
It’s easily forgotten that he won the man of the match in the first of his four United appearances following his £ 4.5million transfer from Venezia.
It was because of his horrific mistake against Southampton, which he would become synonymous with.
A pee-roller of an effort from Matt Le Tissier rolled harmlessly towards the Italian, before jumping a divot and bouncing fiercely off his unhappy frame.
After also coming out in a 5-0 loss to Chelsea, Taibi was returned to Serie A initially on loan less than six months after arriving – and has not been seen on those shores again after leaving £ 2.5million in 2000.
Now 50 years old, Taibi is a director at Reggina.
On January 26, 2013, Sir Alex Ferguson made his final signing as manager of Manchester United.
Wilfried Zaha, 20, had torn the championship apart, exemplifying the kind of tricky wing play that Sir Alex absolutely loved.
The Ivorian signed for United for £ 15million before returning to Palace on loan for the remainder of the season.
He later managed to promote his childhood club, but there was only one problem when he returned to Old Trafford.
Ferguson was gone.
Zaha was never imagined by Fergie’s successor David Moyes, making just four appearances before being dropped and eventually allowed to join Palace for just £ 6million in 2014.
He has since grown and improved as a player, and the Ivorian international has a number of top clubs continuing his services again after impressive performances for the Eagles.
JUAN SEBASTIAN VERON
In 2001, United broke the England transfer record to sign Juan Sebastian Veron from Lazio.
The £ 36million deal rocked the Premier League and a lot was expected of the Argentine.
There were some good times initially, he won the division’s Player of the Month award in September that year – showing flashes of brilliance, especially in the Champions League.
However, fitness difficulties followed, with Veron failing to keep up with the relentless pace of English football.
Criticism of his performance began to grow, but Ferguson defended his man, once declaiming at the end of a press conference: “He [Veron] is a great player and you are all fucking idiots. “
But the consensus was that United’s costly bet did not come off and that they cost him £ 21million when he was allowed to move to Chelsea in 2003.
Former teammate Rio Ferdinand recently spoke about what may have cost Veron at Old Trafford, telling the Mail: “He was an incredible player, a great passer.
“The only thing I think that killed him was that Roy Keane was probably a bit more of a dominant personality and was picking up the ball in his positions.”
At just 18 years old, Powell had become one of the most prominent young properties in English football when he capped a remarkable season with Crewe Alexandra scoring an absolute beauty in the Ligue 2 play-off final.
Manchester United, for so long the best place to nurture and help top English talent flourish, have struck a deal worth up to £ 6million to bring it to the Theater of Dreams.
The creative midfielder had Old Trafford’s jaws on the ground when he scored another successful strike on his United debut, scoring a 20 yards against Wigan Athletic.
But things quickly started to run out of steam for Powell at United, especially after Ferguson left in 2013.
After a number of injuries and loans, United appearances of the once-hot talent quickly became sporadic … and notorious.
He played 57 minutes of the Red Devils’ humiliating 4-0 loss to MK Dons under Louis van Gaal – and gained mocking status when he was brought in for Juan Mata against Wolfsburg with United chasing a crucial League goal champions.
Van Gaal’s side lost that game, crashing out of Europe, and Powell found himself moving to Wigan on a free transfer in 2016.
After playing well in League One and the Latics Championship, the 27-year-old finds himself in Stoke City in the second tier.
Cameroonian Djemba-Djemba has arrived with little fanfare from the first Nantes club in 2003, Ferguson having spent £ 3.5million on a man he saw as a potential successor to Roy Keane.
While he was certainly willing to put on his 5-foot-11 frame in much the same way as the Irishman, Djemba-Djemba lacked the ability to control matches like his skipper did.
He used to share a Nando after training with teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, but the duo’s careers were poised to follow very different paths.
After 39 appearances with the Red Devils, Djemba-Djemba moved to Aston Villa for £ 1.5million, embarking on a nomadic career that would take him everywhere from Chennai to St Mirren.
Now 38, he plays for the fifth-tier Swiss team FC Vallorbe-Ballaigues, recently telling SunSport: “I understand the game. I don’t have to run a lot and I just have to manage my endurance.
“But I don’t think I’m different from my teammates.
“I love to play and when I’m done training I’m happy to carry the balls or the water bottles.”