Name: Fabien Barthez
Signed: May 2000 from AS Monaco (£7.8 million)
Then: Mark Bosnich’s off-field antics and Taibi’s on-field struggles meant United were back in the transfer market again! This time, Alex Ferguson wasn’t messing around. He decided to sign the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship winning keeper, Fabien Barthez, for an eye opening fee of close to £8 million. The eccentric keeper was regarded as one of the top stoppers in the world and had been twice named in major competition’s best XI’s of the tournament. However, he had a crazy streak to his game. He would often attempt to take on opposition players with his foot work and would, more than not, include the odd step over into his routine. His antics meant that he soon became a fan favourite at United. In his first season with the club, Barthez helped Manchester United lift the 2000-2001 Premier League title but the following season he gifted compatriot Thierry Henry two goals in a big game at Arsenal which didn’t best please Fergie.
Now: Remarkably, Barthez has forged a career in motor racing. In 2014, he entered the 24 Hours of Le Mans and finished in 29th position with his co-driver. In terms of his Manchester United career, Barthez’s eccentric nature eventually grew thin with manager Alex Ferguson. In particular, his poor performance against Real Madrid in the 2002-2003 Champions League quarter final saw the Frenchman lose the confidence of his manager. Just months later, in October 2003, he lost his place to the incoming Tim Howard and soon left the club. He retired from the professional game in 2007.