Ajax attacker Dennis Bergkamp was also mooted, even if he’d insisted he would remain in Holland for the duration of the season. One newspaper report noted his father and brother were United supporters and he apparently grew up with a poster of Denis Law on his bedroom wall. Even if there were sufficient funds available, two of the continent’s top striking talents appeared out of reach. With critics sniping that Mark Robins had been offloaded to Norwich prematurely, there was also speculation about a possible target fuelled by the manager revealing he would spend some time in Scotland.
Dundee United’s precocious target-man Duncan Ferguson was touted as the answer to the Reds’ attacking problems – even though, as a raw teenager, he was far from the finished article.
Young Scot Ferguson did share one attribute with the eventual signing – his fiery temper – but Eric Cantona was on a different level - a player to stir the senses of all United supporters. Here was not a man to merely solve any issue pertaining to a lack of goals. Here was a character big enough to transform the entire club’s fortunes, inspire all those around him and achieve legendary status at Old Trafford.