Five underrated Manchester United signings made by Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson is widely regarded as one of the best managers in the history of football, and there is an argument to be made that he is the best of all time. To be the manager of Manchester United for 27 years, to win the trophies that he won, to develop the careers he developed, to stay relevant in the sport in the game for almost four decades... that's something very can brag about.

In that regard, it's obvious that the Scottish coach made a lot of signings during his tenure, and while some such as Éric Cantona, Nemanja Vidic, or Cristiano Ronaldo have been lauded as brilliant and key for his success, there are some that deserve a lot more credit. Here are, in no particular order, five underrated signings that Sir Alex Ferguson made as manager of Manchester United. Let's begin.

Edwin van der Sar

Edwin van der Sar (2005-2011)

By the time United paid Fulham two million pounds for the services of the 35-year-old Dutch goalkeeper, the Red Devils had been struggling in that position for a few years. Legendary keeper Peter Schmeichel was never properly replaced after his departure in the summer of 1999, and van der Sar, being a seasoned goalkeeper, didn't seem like the long-term solution.

However, Ferguson bet on him and he proved to be one of the best goalkeepers in United's history and showed the form that made him such a promising player in the 90s with Ajax. He became a commanding figure in the defense and ended up playing six whole seasons at Old Trafford while being very consistent, which proves yet again how much of a shrewd signing he was.

Denis Irwin (1990-2002)

Sir Alex Ferguson has gone on record saying that he would struggle a lot choosing a whole starting eleven of the best players he has coached but that he had one player that was a sure pick: Denis Irwin.

The Irish fullback was signed from Oldham Athletic in 1990 for just 265,000 pounds and went on to play for the Red Devils as a regular starter for twelve years, constantly delivering quality performances, and being one of the most important players in a United side that won everything. The fact he is the most decorated foreign player in Premier League history should be enough evidence of his achievements.

A player that was equally capable with both feet, great at free kicks, a great teammate, and one of those footballers that every great needs, Irwin definitely deserves a lot more recognition.

Antonio Valencia

Antonio Valencia (2009-2019)

It is a massive achievement to sign for Manchester United from Wigan Athletic while being from Ecuador, with very little knowledge of the English language, and end up playing for the club for a whole decade, winning several trophies, and becoming their captain. That's exactly what Antonio Valencia did in the summer of 2009 when Sir Alex Ferguson signed him for 16 million pounds.

A lot of United fans were probably not expecting much from Valencia when he was signed, but he went on to become a regular in that right flank for almost ten years, adapting first as a winger and later on as a right-back as he got older. He was always consistent, very disciplined, and committed to the cause, gaining a lot of respect and admiration from their supporters.

He is one of the biggest success stories in Ferguson's career as a United manager, and he is one of those signings that deserves a lot more accolades.

Michael Carrick (2006-2018)

Carrick's situation is very similar to Valencia's, even though perhaps he somewhat had a greater profile. Regardless, he is one of the smartest and most forward-thinking signings Ferguson ever did in his career and one that deserves a lot more recognition.

It was January of 2006 and United parted ways with their captain, legendary Irish midfielder Roy Keane, after a massive fallout with Ferguson. He was known for his intensity without the ball, his tackling, his energy, and his commanding presence. And Ferguson decided to replace him with a cerebral, silky midfielder that was more about positioning and reading the game than downright aggression.

This is the kind of risky decision that can cost a manager if it doesn't work out but Ferguson played his cards and it worked: Carrick was signed from Tottenham in the summer of 2006 for 16 million pounds and added much-needed balance to the midfield while being a constant stalwart of the club for twelve years for several different managers.

Underrated is always going to be the best way to describe Michael Carrick and Ferguson's decision to sign him was underrated as well.

Peter Schmeichel

Peter Schmeichel (1991-1999)

It has to be said that Sir Alex Ferguson was good at many different things being a football manager but signing goalkeepers wasn't his forte. In 27 years of coaching at United, he only made two good signings in that position. However, both of them made it on this list, which shows how good they were.

Peter Schmeichel had amazed the European scene by being a key cog in the seven clean sheets that Danish club Brondby had in the 1990/91 edition of the UEFA Cup, now known as the Europa League, in which they reached the semifinals. United would end up signing him for 500,000 pounds that summer, with Ferguson later calling it the "bargain of the century".

The Danish goalkeeper would be vital for the remainder of the decade for United, becoming a very vocal and physical presence in the box, often adding leadership to a team that needed it, and being one of their most consistent performers. His performances in the 1998/99 season, his final one and the one where they won the treble, are now legendary among United fans and they wouldn't have won as much as they did without him.

One of the most underrated United signings in their entire history when the pricing and the impact are considered.
Kano Kluckfors speaks Thai but now lives in Stockholm, Sweden. Kano knows most things about the sport of football and likes to write about it. The number one team is Arsenal, a passion founded during the years he lived in London.