SAF: Goals won’t cost us again
Ferguson unveiled Robin van Persie at Old Trafford on Friday
afternoon after the deal to sign the 29-year-old from Arsenal was
rushed through in time for him to face Everton at Goodison Park on
The trip to Merseyside represents the first stop on the Red
Devils’ quest to regain their Premier League crown from Manchester
It was a loss famously confirmed by Sergio Aguero’s
stoppage-time winner against QPR, after United had finished their
final match at Sunderland.
And it came through the narrowest of margins, just six
That damning fact has eaten away at Ferguson throughout the
It explains why the Scot has abandoned the recent policy of
buying younger talent to pluck Van Persie straight from the top
“No matter the years of experience we have had in terms of
winning titles, last year was different,” said Ferguson.
“It was the first time anyone has beaten us on goal
“It cost us the league and it won’t happen again, trust me on
Although it seems Arsene Wenger eventually drove a hard bargain,
Ferguson’s delight at signing a player who scored 37 times for
Arsenal last season was understandable.
Six months ago, he did not believe there was a chance Wenger
would let Van Persie join the Old Trafford outfit.
Even when his antennae were raised by Van Persie’s damning
statement confirming an intention not to sign a contract extension
when his current one expired in 2013, there was still the small
matter of Manchester City to overcome.
After all, it was only last summer that Van Persie’s team-mate
Samir Nasri looked bound for Old Trafford, only to abandon that
plan for City’s ambitious, and lucrative project, which quickly
turned him into a league champion.
“We never thought we could get Van Persie,” said Ferguson.
“I thought Arsenal are not going to let him go.
“When I read he had refused a new contract that is when we
“It has been a long haul and he (Wenger) got a great price – he
could win a poker school in Govan.
“But we are happy the matter is concluded.”
A cynic might suggest Ferguson went for Van Persie because,
having celebrated his 70th birthday, the United boss simply does
not have the time to wait for a new team to emerge as bona-fide
challengers to City.
In Van Persie’s case, the Red Devils are buying the finished
“He is what we have needed for the last couple of years,” said
“He has maturity in his game. His authority, timing and
understanding of the game is complete.
“I hope we will benefit over the next four years.”
Ferguson could have paid Van Persie no greater compliment than
to use Eric Cantona as the example of an experienced player who
guided youngsters through the formative stages of their
In Cantona’s case it was the ‘Class of 92’.
For Danny Welbeck, rather than view it as a shattering blow to
his own first-team hopes, Ferguson thinks it is a transfer that
will give him an extra kick.
“You always learn from great players,” said Ferguson.
“Remember what Cantona did for all the young players.
“He was a great teacher for them and Danny will welcome that
“He will learn from playing with Robin and Wayne Rooney.”
After signing Japan midfielder Shinji Kagawa and youngster Nick
Powell from Crewe earlier in the summer, Ferguson declared his
transfer business over.
Earlier, he had told MUTV there was one more specific player he
would be interested in if he became available, without mentioning
who it was.
No-one else will have arrived before that trip to Everton
though, with Ferguson ignoring Roberto Mancini’s claim of United
now being favourites to cite City as the biggest danger to a 20th
“We are favourites every week according to him (Mancini),” said
“Is he ever going to realise he has got a decent team
“Our biggest threat this season are Manchester City.
“Chelsea have won the European Cup, which is the trophy Roman
Abramovich has been after.
“Now he has got excited again and loosened the purse strings to
sign a few players.
“I am almost certain they will be challenging.
“But I look at Manchester City as our biggest danger.”