After losing out to Champions League winners Chelsea in the race to sign the exciting Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard, you have to go a long way back to find the lure of Old Trafford more appealing than the other top European clubs.
In fact, perhaps Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to pay a hefty £28.1m for Argentine midfielder Juan Sebastián Verón from Lazio in 2001 was their last big-money, big-name signing as he was at the peak of his talents – not really shown at United.
Of course, star striker Ruud van Nistelrooy was also signed in 2001 from PSV Eindhoven but arguably wasn’t as big a name as Veron at that stage, and having been badly injured before an imminent transfer to Old Trafford the prior season, many other top clubs were probably put off and the Dutch striker repaid United’s faith in him.
In more recent years, the likes of Ronaldinho and Karim Benzema were massive names targeted by Ferguson but they were snapped up by Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.
There has been a reluctance to break the bank in the last few seasons but United did make a substantial offer for Ronaldinho, so, aside from the obvious perks of living in Spain over Manchester, and bigger wages being a prominent factor, it’s not just the financial side of things that prevent the Red Devils from landing a superstar.
Now, with the recent signing of Japanese attacking midfielder Kagawa for £12.6 million from Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund, many United fans are wondering why the big names are not being delivered.
With Manchester City being the exception and possibly wealthy Paris Saint-Germain becoming more of a force outside of the top two in Spain, United don’t appear to have the same lure as they once did.
With Dutchman Wesley Sneijder constantly being linked to Old Trafford, it now appears that he prefers a move to AC Milan next.
So we will have to wait and see if Ferguson once again can reign supreme in the transfer market and persuade the best players in the world to move to Old Trafford.
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