Top Five: Ferguson’s worst signings

Earlier this week Juventus playmaker Andrea Pirlo labelled Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to let Paul Pogba leave Manchester United as one of the "strangest" he had seen and added that perhaps those in Manchester "needed glasses". 

Pogba first joined the United youth academy in 2009 from French club Le Havre when he was 16. On promoting Pogba to the senior squad in August 2011, Ferguson said: "I mean if we hold Pogba back, what's going to happen? He's going to leave. You know, in a couple of years' time when his contract is going to finish. So we have to give him the opportunity to see how he can do in the first-team and he's got great ability"

Ferguson handed Pogba his senior debut in a cup tie the following month, but the Frenchman would only make three league appearances that season and disillusioned he signed for Juventus. Ferguson was less than impressed, stating that Pogba had shown a lack of respect.

Switching back to Pirlo, the Italian went on to say of his team-mate: "I have never seen a player who is so good at his age, he is so strong, so technically gifted, has exceptional all-round play. Pogba can do things only Pogba can, similar to Messi and Ronaldo. United let one of the top players in the world leave but that has been only good news for us."

And it's hard to argue with Pirlo; Pogba is certainly a great talent and it is equally as baffling that he was allowed to leave United so soon.

Sir Alex Ferguson will be remembered as one of the game's greats, and rightly so, the Scot was a phenomenal manager. But like the rest of us he's only human, and he was prone to making the odd shocker in the transfer market…

Five of Ferguson's worst signings:

Anderson – £26m from Porto

Anderson was brought in to replace Paul Scholes, but while Scholes was a box-to-box midfielder, the only boxes that the Anderson appeared to be familiar with were empty chocolate boxes as his weight ballooned and his fitness levels plummeted. There is no doubting the Portuguese player's talent, and that perhaps is what makes him so frustrating. While many of Fergie's flops had nothing to offer, Anderson appeared as if he might have. 

Kléberson – £6.5m from Atlético Paranaense 

Signed alongside Ronaldo, it was Kléberson who was supposed to be the rock-solid prospect with Ronaldo a bit of a gamble. The World Cup-winning midfielder, who set up two goals in the 2002 World Cup final, came to Old Trafford as a replacement for the disappointing Juan Sebastian Veron, but like the Argentine he proved to be a tremendous flop.

Eric Djemba-Djemba – £3.5m from Nantes

The fans chanted that Djemba-Djemba was "so good they named him twice", but the Cameroon international proved to be anything but. The midfielder spent the majority of his time among the replacements, and when he wasn't warming the bench he was doing his best to burn his way through his hefty salary. Having opened 30 bank accounts and bought 10 4x4s, Djemba-Djemba was struggling even on a £75,000 basic monthly salary while at United and would later be declared bankrupt. Djemba-Djemba currently turns out for Indonesian outfit Persebaya Surabaya.

Massimo Taibi – £4.5m from Venezia

If there was one area where Ferguson really struggled in the transfer market it was in finding a replacement for Peter Schmeichel. Raimond van der Gouw, Roy Carroll, Tim Howard and Fabien Barthez all got a run to varying degrees of failure, but Ferguson's worst goalkeeping flop was surely Massimo Taibi.

The Italian only played four times for United, but he is the gift that keeps on giving to opposition supporters for this…

Bébé – £7.4 million from Vitória de Guimarães

Ferguson conceded that he'd never seen Bébé play prior to the forward's move to Old Trafford, and it showed. United are believed to have rushed into buying the Lisbon-born player due to reported interest from Real Madrid – it's fair to say Los Blancos dodged a bullet.

Bébé himself would later admit "I thought Manchester United were joking" when they expressed their interest in him, while also offering the follow illustration of his relationship with Ferguson: "He told me to cut my hair, it will look better. So I cut it the same day. In the next training session, he didn't recognise me. I went past him many times and he didn't know me."

(Dis)honrable mentions: Wilfried Zaha, Zoran Tosic, David Bellion, Juan Sebastian Veron, Ralph Milne

On the other side of the coin, Ferguson signed Eric Cantona, Peter "the bargain of the century" Schmeichel, Roy Keane and Nemanja Vidic to Old Trafford for mere pocket change, while a young Cristiano Ronaldo for just £12.25m certainly represented value for money! 

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