Sir Alex Ferguson’s inside story on his ‘most disappointing signing’ at Man Utd

He may be one of the greatest managers of all time, but Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t always get things right in the transfer market.

The Scotsman guided Manchester United to a record 13 Premier League titles in his iconic 27-year stint at Old Trafford, as well as five FA Cups, four League Cups and two Champions League crowns.

An array of world-class signings helped him get there, including the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand and Eric Cantona.

You can’t win them all, nevertheless, and it’s fair to say Ferguson also recruited some flops in his time as Red Devils boss.

Bebe, Kleberson, Juan Sebastian Veron, Eric Djemba Djemba, Mark Bosnic… the list goes on.

And in his 2013 autobiography, Ferguson also named Owen Hargreaves as “one of the most disappointing signings of my career”.

Hargreaves arrived at United in 2007 with a solid standing in European football after winning four Bundesliga titles and the Champions League with Bayern Munich.

He had also earned over 30 caps for England’s national team at the time.

However, after racking up 34 appearances in his debut season at Old Trafford and helping Ferguson’s side win a Premier League and Champions League double, the midfielder went on to make just four more appearances for United over the next three years amid a number of injury setbacks.

“I look back less fondly on our move for Owen Hargreaves, who was phenomenal in the summer of 2006 and was just the type of player we needed to fill the gap left by Keane,” Ferguson wrote in his autobiography.

“We started to put together a bid for him. But I studied his playing record and felt a tinge of doubt. I didn't feel a strong vibe about him.

“David Gill worked hard on the deal with Bayern.

“I met Owen's agent at the World Cup final in Berlin. Nice man, a lawyer. I told him we could develop Hargreaves at United. It turned out to be a disaster.

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“Owen had no confidence in himself whatsoever. He didn't show nearly enough determination to overcome his physical difficulties, for my liking.

“I saw him opt for the easy choice too often in terms of training. He was one of the most disappointing signings of my career.”

Hargreaves eventually sealed a move to Manchester City in 2011, but only featured four times for United’s rivals before retiring from football at the age of 31.

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