I felt that there would be an improvement there,” he said after the saga, “He is tough, good physique, a good goal scoring record, so it was worth going a wee bit extra for him because of his age. But when it went to £42m, it was beyond his value.
We went to £35m and I think that was fair.”
Perhaps even more curious than the notion that United were put off by having to pay just £7m more is that their back-up plan was to sign Michael Owen.
The former Liverpool hero, who had been ravaged by injuries at that point in his career, scored just five league goals in a troubled three-year spell at Old Trafford.