The former Red Devils defender believes a centre-half snapped up from Leeds was Sir Alex Ferguson’s best business during his time at the club
Rio Ferdinand, not Cristiano Ronaldo, represents the best transfer business carried out by Manchester United in recent times, claims John O’Shea.
Plenty of names could be added to the pot when it comes to superstar additions at Old Trafford.
Since the Premier League started, the likes of Eric Cantona, Peter Schmeichel and Roy Keane have provided remarkable value for money.
Wayne Rooney, as the club’s all-time leading goalscorer, can also join that list, along with Andy Cole and current boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – who cost just £1.5 million in 1996.
Portuguese superstar Ronaldo would be expected to come into the mix for many, given that he won the first of his five Ballons d’Or while in Manchester, but O’Shea feels that a £30 million ($41m) centre-half snapped up from Leeds in 2002 proved to be the shrewdest addition.
The former United defender, who enjoyed five title triumphs during his time with the Red Devils, told Stadium Astro: “I’d have to edge it to Rio.
“In my time, in terms of how consistent he performed. He provided such a solid foundation for the team. He was a great lad as well.
“When he joined he really settled in well, he knew a lot of the players from England. He fitted in well at the time and proved to be a very good signing. People mentioned the price tag a lot but he provided very good value.”
Pressed on ranking Ferdinand above Ronaldo, O’Shea added: “Yeah, it’s close.
“You are talking about two amazing players but just at the time, what was needed and the impact he made overall at the club, for me Rio just edges it.”
United have continued to invest shrewdly in recent windows, bringing in the likes of Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Edinson Cavani.
Bruno Fernandes has also been added to the ranks, with the Portugal international playmaker thriving across 12 months in English football.
Red Devils legend Paul Scholes has claimed that a talismanic presence in 2021 is better than he ever was, but O’Shea believes a key man for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still has some way to go before he stands alongside the greats.
The Irishman added: “For me he still has a long way to go to be better than Paul. To be mentioned in that level already goes to show the impact that Bruno Fernandes has had. He’s been incredible.”
United will be looking to Fernandes for inspiration once again when they return to Premier League action on Sunday, with the table-topping Red Devils preparing for a crunch clash with Liverpool.