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Rediff.com  » Sports » Fergie's sparing, yet successful Dutch deals

Fergie's sparing, yet successful Dutch deals

Last updated on: August 28, 2012 08:39 IST

Good start by Van Persie

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Even as he made Manchester United the champion outfit it is, Sir Alex Ferguson seldom signed up Dutch players over the years, their talent notwithstanding. Bikash Mohapatra dwells on the returns from his purchases.

Manchester United paid a whopping 24 million pounds to Premier League rivals Arsenal to secure his services.

Sir Alex Ferguson wasn't much bothered about the fact that his club was replete with strikers. He was simply interested in adding another one. The Scot, it seems has put his money on the right player.

On his maiden start for his new club on Saturday – he had appeared as a substitute earlier in the week during United's loss at Everton -- it took Robin van Persie only 10 minutes to score his first goal.

The Dutchman had announced his arrival at Old Trafford in style. He had played his part in securing his new club their maiden win of the season, a 3-2 verdict over Fulham.


Image: Manchester United's new signing Robin van Persie of the Netherlands poses for photographers at Old Trafford in Manchester
Photographs: REUTERS/Phil Noble

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Fergie seldom opted for Dutch players

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With Wayne Rooney suffering a nasty leg injury in the same match, one that rules him out of action for up to four weeks, Ferguson now has to rely on Van Persie to produce more such efforts.

It is imperative here to mention that in his 25 years at Old Trafford, Ferguson seldom opted for Dutch players -- only seven to be precise. However, to his credit, most of those signings made an impact.

While Van Persie has made a perfect start, it remains to be seen if the forward and his compatriot, left back Alexander Buttner, bought recently for four million pounds from Vitesse Arnhem, will make it big in the long run at Old Trafford, we take a look at how Ferguson has fared with his Dutch purchases over the years.


Image: Robin van Persie of Manchester United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park
Photographs: Michael Regan/Getty Images

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Van der Sar stands second, only behind Schmeichel

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Edwin van der Sar

One of Fergie's most successful buys, Edwin van der Sar cost the Scot only two million pounds.

Having left Craven Cottage (Fulham) for Old Trafford, the Dutch goalkeeper spent six successful seasons at the club.

Van der Sar's tenure at Old Trafford was a prolific one when it came to silverware. He won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, three Community Shield, a World Club Cup and a Champions League medal.

In fact, in the 2007 Champions League final against Chelsea in Moscow it was the Dutchman who ensured United their third win in the tournament, saving the final penalty of the shoot-out from Nicolas Anelka.

No wonder Fergie rated him as the best goalkeeper after the legendary Peter Schmeichel.


Image: Edwin van der Sar of Manchester United celebrates
Photographs: Michael Regan/Getty Images

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Van Nistelrooy netted on 150 occasions

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Ruud van Nistelrooy

To secure the services of this Dutch forward, Fergie had to shell out a whopping 19 million pounds (back in 2001) to Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven.

However, Ruud van Nistelrooy ensured the Scot rich dividends during his time at Old Trafford.

In his five seasons with Man United, the striker scored a mammoth 150 goals, winning a Premier League (2003), a Community Shield (2003), an FA Cup (2004) and a League Cup (2006).

Besides, with 38 goals in the Champions League, Van Nistelrooy remains the club's all-time European top goal scorer.

His exploits at Old Trafford caught the eye of the bosses at Real Madrid, who didn't hesitate paying 24 million pounds for his services, thereby ensuring Fergie and Man United a neat profit.


Image: Ruud Van Nistelrooy of United gets past Hector of Deportivo during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg match between Manchester United and Deportivo La Coruna at Old Trafford
Photographs: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

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Stam was successful... and controversial

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Jaap Stam

When Fergie paid 10.6 million pounds to PSV Eindhoven in 1998 to acquire the services of Jaap Stam, it made the latter the most expensive defender in history.

In terms of silverware, Stam's tenure at Old Trafford was a productive one, the Dutchman winning three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, the Intercontinental Cup and the UEFA Champions League in his three seasons with the Red Devils.

However, there was a huge controversy when he was sold to Itallian club Lazio ahead of the 2001�� season.

In his autobiography Head to Head, Stam made various allegations thereby incurring Fergie's ire.

The Scot though later admitted that though selling the Dutch defender was a decision taken in haste, he was left with no realistic option.


Image: Jaap Stam of Manchester United on the ball during the FA Carling Premiership match against Newcastle United
Photographs: Gary M Prior/Getty Images

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Jordi Cruyff played in only 54 games

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Jordi Cruyff

The son of the legendary Johan Cruyff, Jordi joined Manchester United in August 1996.

Fergie paid Barcelona 1.4 million pounds to sign the young midfielder on a four-year deal.

During his four years at Old Trafford, Jordi won a league title (1997), an Intercontinental Cup (1999) and two Charity Shields (1996-97). However, he was used sparingly by Fergie.

So much so that in his four years with the club, the younger Cruyff played a total of only 54 games, not enough to earn him any of the other medals United won during the time, including the Champions League. 


Image: Jordi Cruyff of Manchester United on the ball against Wimbledon during the FA Carling Premiership match at Selhurst Park
Photographs: Mike Hewitt /Allsport

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Van der Gouw never got enough chances

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Raimond van der Gouw       

Well before Edwin van der Sar made an impact at Old Trafford, Fergie had experimented with another Dutch goalkeeper.

Raimond van der Gouw was well into his 30s when the Scot paid Dutch club Vitesse 500, 000 pounds to acquire his services.

Van der Gouw played only 61 competitive games in his six years at Old Trafford, being entrusted with the task of coaching United's young goalkeepers on most occasions.

Nonetheless, he managed to win a couple of Premier League medals, an FA Cup medal and also a Champions League medal. Manchester United won other competitions during the Dutchman's tenure with the club. However, unfortunately for him, Van der Gouw did not play enough games to receive those medals.


Photographs: Mike Hewitt /Allsport
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