Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes that he made a mistake in selling Jaap Stam to Lazio in 2001.
The Dutch centre-back was sold to the Serie A side for £16.5 million after revelations in his autobography, but Ferguson acknowledges that it was one of his rare errors in his career at United.
"It was one of the mistakes I made – hopefully I haven't made too many – but that was one," the Scot told The Daily Mirror.
"I got this offer from Lazio for £18.5m. Was it £18.5m? No, £16.5m I think it was, and I says, 'Can't turn it down. He's 30 years of age.'
"I thought if we could get Laurent Blanc for a year or so and bring the young ones through – like Wes Brown and John O'Shea - but it backfired.
"Jaap and I have got on well together. We spoke the last time we were over in Holland at the Ajax Tournament. I spoke to him for a long time there and everything’s fine."
Meanwhile, Ferguson does believe that he was very fortunate in having such a talented quartet of forwards from whom to pick in United's treble-winning team of 1999.
Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham provided Ferguson with a rich base of talent from which to choose, but the Scot admits that keeping such strong personalities happy all the time could be tricky.
Whilst Yorke and Cole were producing such consistently great form it was often diffcult to make Sheringham and Solskjaer continue to feel wanted.
"They [Yorke and Cole] were a fantastic partnership that year with I think it was 52 goals between them," he added.
"I think they were the best in Europe, they were unbelievable. It was a partnership that just took off immediately.
"I don't know why, the chemistry or something just clicked between the two of them but it developed into an unbelievable partnership.
"So much so that I found difficulty, great difficulty, in keeping Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer warm and happy, that's how effective Cole and Yorke were.
"I was very fortunate to have four great strikers like that when you think about it, really fortunate.
"And yes, it created headaches at times, you know, picking the right two, but that season Cole and Yorke were unbelievable.
"For most of the time Cole and Yorke's form dictated exactly who we were going to be playing all the time."
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