Gary Neville says 'iconic' transfer between Leeds United and Manchester United is best ever in Premier League history

It is still a sore one for Leeds United fans.

By Joe Urquhart
Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 11:50 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 11:54 am
Former Manchester United player Gary Neville. Pic: Getty
Former Manchester United player Gary Neville. Pic: Getty

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville believes Eric Cantona's transfer from Leeds United to Old Trafford is one of the best in Premier League history.

The Whites sold the Frenchman to their bitter rivals in November 1992 following a brief spell at Elland Road.

Cantona had initially joined Leeds on loan in the January of the same year from Nimes but made his move permanent for £900,000 after helping Howard Wilkinson's men to the First Division crown at the expense of the Red Devils.

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He scored 14 goals in 35 appearances in total for the Whites - including a hat-trick in a Charity Shield win over Liverpool - and fast became a fan favourite.

Differences with head coach Wilkinson, though, saw him swiftly depart for Old Trafford less than a year after he had joined.

Cantona's move over the Pennines was the catalyst for a period of stunning success at Manchester United as Sir Alex Ferguson's side went on to win their first league title in 25 years in the following summer.

The Red Devils then claimed a further three Premier League titles on the bounce with Cantona also helping lift two FA Cup trophies and three Charity Shield's during his spell in Lancashire, setting a platform for a golden era of dominance.

Cantona earned legendary status with the Red Devils, scoring 82 goals in 182 appearances before his departure in 1997 - and Neville insists that the transfer is one of the best ever in top flight history.

"I always pick Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo up front in my all time Manchester United team," Neville told Monday Night Football.

"For the best signing that I think Manchester United have made it has to be (Cantona) in terms of £1.2million from Leeds - who at the time were enemies. They were complete enemies!

"To get a player off Leeds for £1.2 million that then goes and takes you to the title... it has to be the best signing."

Neville later added: “I think Cantona is the most iconic Premier League signing just in terms of what he did to Manchester United and the Premier League record they had after winning it for the first time.

"£1.2 million from Leeds - massive rivals - to me that can never be eclipsed in terms of signings.”