Ferguson was a keen promoter of home-grown talent but his incredible collection of silverware would not have been possible without some stunning transfer coups.
London: Alex Ferguson was a keen promoter of home-grown talent but his incredible collection of silverware would not have been possible without some stunning transfer coups for Manchester United.
Beginning with Eric Cantona and ending with Robin van Persie, Ferguson has usually spent money wisely at Old Trafford, although there have been some flops.
Here are some of the best and worst Ferguson signings.
Signed from bitter rivals Leeds United in 1992, the feisty French maverick was influential in United winning the title a year later. Cantona went on to win three more titles and remains a true United icon.
A colossus between the posts, the Danish international signed from Brondby in 1991 will go down as one of United's greatest goalkeepers. Fearless and demonstrative, Schmeichel led from the back for eight years.
When Ferguson signed Ronaldo for 12 million pounds from Sporting Lisbon in 2003 to replace David Beckham many questioned his judgement but the Scot moulded him from a flashy winger into a prolific goalscorer who netted 42 times in the 2007-08 season. Sold to Real Madrid for 80 million pounds.
Robin Van Persie
After losing out on the Premier League title to Manchester City last season, Ferguson beat their bitter local rivals to the signing of the Dutch striker from Arsenal and his 25 league goals helped United cruise to this season's championship.
Signed to replace Bryan Robson in United's midfield engine room, Ireland midfielder Keane stamped his authority on the side throughout the 1990s, leading his team mates by example. His rivalry with Arsenal's Patrick Vieira was pure box office.
Rooney exploded on to the scene at Everton in 2002 and the young striker was lured to United in 2004 for 25 million pounds. Scored a hat-trick on his debut in the Champions League and is now approaching 150 goals for the club.
A thoroughbred among defenders, Ferdinand's calmness on the ball prompted Ferguson to sign him from Leeds for 30 million pounds in 2002 and he has been a key part of United's defence ever since. Ferguson stood by him when he was suspended for missing a drugs test in 2003.
Not well known before his move to United in 2006, the Serb has formed a telepathic understanding with Ferdinand and is now the club captain.
Ruud van Nistelrooy
The combative Dutchman scored 95 goals in 150 league games for United after signing from PSV Eindhoven in 2001 for 19 million pounds. Remains United's top scorer in European competitions.
Signed from Newcastle United in 1995, Cole spent six years at Old Trafford, many in partnership with Dwight Yorke. Scored vital goals in five league title campaigns and was part of the 1999 treble-winning side.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Unknown outside Norway when he arrived in 1996, Solskjaer's ability to score vital goals, often after coming off the bench, endeared him to fans and Ferguson. Scored 126 goals in 11 years.
Cameroon international who was signed from Nantes in 2003 to fill the hole left by Roy Keane but was completely out of his depth and made just 20 appearances.
Signed on the back of Brazil's 2002 World Cup triumph but the south American managed just two league goals in two years.
Arrived at United in 2001 from Lazio for 28 million pounds with a glowing reputation but things did not go to plan for the midfielder and he was eventually sold to Chelsea for half the price.
Hard-working Uruguayan striker was signed in January 2002 for 6.9 million pounds and failed to score for the rest of the season. Overshadowed by Ruud van Nistelrooy and eventually sold to Villarreal where he thrived.
Signed from Portuguese club Vitoria in 2010, the striker has been virtually anonymous ever since.
A tricky winger, Obertan was signed for about three million pounds from Bordeaux in 2009. Proved too lightweight and lasted just two years before moving to Newcastle United.
Took over the gloves from Schmeichel in 1999 but quickly dropped them. His fourth and final appearance saw the goalkeeper allow a Matthew le Tissier shot through his legs.
Son of the great Johan Cruyff, Jordi was signed from Barcelona. Occasionally showed the family pedigree but there were few high points in his 45 appearances.