In 1989, when Sir Alex Ferguson was in his third season of managing Manchester United, City defeated the Red Devils 5-1 in a thrashing that left the Scot calling the match-up the most upsetting of his career.
But now, Ferguson would call another game the worst – last Sunday’s 6-1 thrashing left United looking a shell of their former title winning and Champions League challenging selves, and Ferguson said the game was the most painful he’d ever seen as both a manager and player.
"It was our worst ever day," Ferguson said. "It's the worst result in my history, ever. Even as a player I don't think I ever lost 6-1. That's a challenge for me too."
While United only made three signings in the summer transfer window, Ferguson will no doubt be considering bolstering the squad in January to stand up to City when the two face-off in the third last week of the Barclays Premier League season.
But which players will be a good fit for United? GMF looks at the top five and rates their abilities to fit in with the Red Devils’ line-up.
1. Wesley Sneijder
Chance of moving: 2/5
Gossip and rumours keep flying around over whether Sneijder was ever a serious target for United or not. Ferguson keeps denying it, Sneijder says he never wanted to go to Old Trafford, but Inter Milan have made it pretty clear that they would have sold the playmaker if Ferguson had gone for him.
So would the manager target the Inter star in January? Sneijder’s wages are a huge stumbling block, but pundits and fans alike have noticed the absence of Paul Scholes since the stalwart retired at the end of last season.
Sneijder won’t be able to play in the Champions League if he does move to United in January, with the Dutchman cup-tied, making a possible move even less likely.
2. Luka Modric
Chance of moving: 3/5
Rumours died of a move for Modric to United when Chelsea came into the mix and made public their multiple bids for the playmaker. But Ferguson is reportedly a long-time admirer of Modric, and could come back with a serious bid for the star next transfer window.
While the Croatia international appears settled at Tottenham after a difficult transfer tussle with Chelsea, if Spurs are looking unlikely to challenge for Champions League qualification, Modric might push again for an exit.
And especially with Harry Redknapp looking likely to take over the England manager’s job in June, unrest at Tottenham come January is a big possibility.
3. Riccardo Montovilo
Chance of moving: 3.5/5
Motovilo has long been watched by Arsenal, and United scouts were reportedly present when he played for Italy against Northern Ireland two weeks ago. While Ferguson is known for targeting younger players and building a team from the ground up at Old Trafford, against City a more established squad will be required if the manager hopes to beat the likes of David Silva and Mario Balotelli.
At 26, Montovilo certainly has that experience, scoring 14 goals in 192 appearances for Fiorentina. And with his contract running out this time next summer, United will be onto a bargain if they take him on, even if it’s in January.
4. Bruno Soriano
Chance of moving: 4/5
Soriano has often been linked to United, and the midfielder is cropping up a lot in transfer speculation of late. At 27, he has been a star for both Villarreal and the Spain national team, and while he has a £22 million exit fee in his contract, Ferguson is still sending scouts to watch the star in action.
He’s been called the ‘best player in La Liga in his position’ by Villarreal boss Juan Carlos Garrido, and with this star on board, United would certainly not be lacking in the midfield section.
5. Milos Krasic
Chance of moving: 4/5
Krasic has reportedly been in United’s sights for ‘two years’, according to his agent, and with the Juventus star scoring eight times in 39 appearances in the Serie A, Ferguson is keeping very close tabs on him.
While Krasic is still contracted to Juventus for another three years, he’s rumoured to be looking elsewhere (another point confirmed by his agent), and though United haven’t made a firm offer for him in past transfer windows, January could be the time for Ferguson to step up and bring the midfielder in.
The Serbia international would be a big coup of Ferguson, with other clubs also reportedly monitoring the 26-year-old’s progress.