Fifteen foreign defenders have plied their trade at United over the years. In our opinion, these are the four best...
Miles from M16? Born in Kampen, 316 miles from Manchester
Signed May 1998 from PSV Eindhoven for £10.7m
Service Three seasons (1998-2001); 127/1
Backstory The six-foot-three colossus enjoyed a distinguished career in his homeland, most notably for PSV Eindhoven, and by 1998 his powerful performances had attracted the attention of many of Europe’s biggest clubs. He chose United, becoming the most expensive Dutch player – and most expensive defender – of the time.
Impact A slow burner: Jaap looked sluggish on his Charity Shield debut against Arsenal, and took several months to settle into the English game. Once he’d got his head round the hurly-burly of the Premiership, however, there was no stopping him, or – more to the point – getting past him. Blessed with pace, strength, composure and an unparalleled reading of the game, he formed superb partnerships with both Ronny Johnsen and Henning Berg. Stam kept it simple: he almost always won any ball he went for – on the floor or in the air – then passed it accurately forward. He was particularly pivotal in the second half of the glorious Treble season, as United went unbeaten for 33 games in a row. The Stam-marshalled back four also finished the 2000/01 season with the best defensive record in the league. An absolute rock.
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