150 goals in 219 total games. That’s the incredible Manchester United record Ruud van Nistelrooy has.
The Dutchman made the move to Old Trafford from PSV in the summer of 2001, and it’s fair to say that he established himself as one of the Premier League’s best marksman year-in and year-out whilst playing for the Red Devils.
But what’s perhaps easily forgotten almost 20 years later, is that the striker could have completed his United switch almost a year prior.
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Everything was all perfectly set up for him to join Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, but it fell through due to a failed medical. And then to really compound his misery, he would suffer a serious cruciate ligament injury that kept him out of action for a total of nine months.
A failed medical, and then an ACL issue would surely have set alarm bells ringing even more about potentially going back in for Van Nistelrooy, but Ferguson never wavered in his desire to bring the goal-scorer to Old Trafford.
Reports suggested that the then United manager “kept constant tabs on the player throughout his long recovery from injury, even offering him the use of the club’s training facilities if he wanted a change of environment”.
And then after seeing him get back to full fitness at PSV, and earning a recall with the Netherlands, Ferguson took the major gamble to spend a British record fee of £19m.
Speaking after the confirmation of Van Nistelrooy’s arrival, the United boss said: “I am delighted that we have signed Ruud, a player we have admired for some time. The deal underlines our determination to improve the squad at United. We’ve been monitoring his progress throughout the recuperation period and I’m very happy with the way things have gone.”
The rest of course is history. It was a brave decision, and one that perfectly showed Ferguson’s eye for a diamond.