Serious snips considering their service:
Peter Schmeichel (£550k, 1991)
Denis Irwin (£625k, 1990)
Steve Bruce (£825k, 1987)
Nemanja Vidic (£6m, 2006)
Patrice Evra (£5.5m, 2006)
Andrei Kanchelskis (£650k, 1991)
Lee Sharpe (£180k, 1988)
Brian McClair (£825k, 1988)
Javier Hernandez (£7m, 2010)
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (£1.5m, 1996)
Eric Cantona (£1m, 1992)
Big-name Buy XI
Cost a few quid but worth every penny:
Edwin van der Sar (est. £2m, 2005)
Gary Pallister (£2.3m, 1989)
Rio Ferdinand (£30m, 2002)
Paul Ince (£1.5m, 1989)
Roy Keane (£3.75m, 1993)
Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.2m, 2003)
Mark Hughes (£1.8m, 1988)
Andy Cole (£6m, 1995)
Dwight Yorke (£12.6m, 1998)
Ruud van Nistelrooy (£19m, 2001)
Wayne Rooney (£27m, 2004)
From Cantona to Cole, Choccy to Chicharito, the money spent by Sir Alex has been well repaid.
A major factor in his success has been his ability to spot a player who could potentially shine in a red shirt. Names like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Javier Hernandez, Nemanja Vidic and even Cristiano Ronaldo were little known outside of their home nations before the manager swooped to propel those players into the Manchester United hall of fame.
Sure, not every import has prospered, but, percentage-wise, few other managers can match Sir Alex's hit rate. And while he’s adept at spotting a good deal and driving a hard bargain, he’s equally prepared to splash the cash when he gets a big star in his sights.
Sir Alex has instigated three British record-transfer deals - paying £7m to sign Andy Cole from Newcastle United in January 1995, four times that figure (£28.1m) to Lazio in July 2001 for Juan Sebastian Veron and £29.1m to acquire Rio Ferdinand from Leeds in July 2002. He's also been involved in the world's most expensive transfer to date, selling Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid in 2009 for £80m - making a profit of £67.25m.