Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary boss of Manchester United, stands tall as one of the most successful managers in history. He left a monumental mark on the club’s history. Under his guidance, the Red Devils secured every major title in club competitions that was out there to be won.
The Scottish manager etched his name at the top of history books not only for his managerial feats but also for discovering talents like David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, and Ryan Giggs, to name a few. The man renowned for bringing in the right talents admits that one signing proved disastrous.
The reason Sir Alex thought Owen Hargreaves wasn’t a perfect fit
In his 26-year tenure with Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson brought immense glory to Old Trafford, justifying their slogan ‘Glory, glory, Man United.’ He was a well-respected figure among his players, successfully managing big-name stars throughout his managerial career.
The Scot was known for his negotiation skills to pull off transfer deals and his eye for potential talents. He signed players like Eric Cantona, Peter Schmeichel, and Denis Irwin, who went on to become club legends.
The former United boss even smashed transfer records by spending huge sums to acquire the services of Roy Keane, Andy Cole, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Juan Sebastian Veron, and Rio Ferdinand—on five occasions. All these bargains emerged as pure successes for Manchester United.
However, it came as a surprise when Ferguson himself accepted that his signing didn’t meet his expectations. In his autobiography, Sir Alex referred to former English international Owen Hargreaves’ move to old trafford in 2007 to fill in the void of Captain Roy Keane and labeled him ‘Almost too nice’ to play for Red Devil.
Sir Alex wrote, “When I signed him, there was something about him I didn’t like. The thing every good leader should have is an instinct. Mine said to me: ‘I don’t fancy this’.
“When he came over to Old Trafford for the medical, I still had some indefinable doubt. He was very hail-fellow-well-met. Almost too nice.”
With an incredible start to his career at Manchester United, Hargreaves played a key role in helping his side win the Premier League and the Champions League. However, his time was plagued by injuries, and subsequently, his name goes down as one of the manager’s transfer failures.
Hargreaves played for both Bayern and United
The Canadian-born Englishman, Owen Hargreaves, had a highly successful international and club career. With the Three Lions, he was named Player of the Year in 2006 and was part of England’s FIFA World Cup squad in the same year.
The midfielder’s dynamic and versatile qualities caught the eye of Sir Alex Ferguson, who considered him the successor to Roy Keane at Old Trafford.
Before joining Manchester United in a £17 million transfer, Hargreaves made over 200 appearances for Bayern Munich and played an instrumental role in winning ten titles, including four Bundesliga titles and the Champions League.
At Manchester United, following his impressive first season, he made only five appearances and played few minutes during his final years of the contract. He fell off drastically and later joined Manchester City in 2011, playing a single season and winning the Premier League title before hanging up his boots at the age of 31 in 2012.