Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed getting Darren Fletcher to sign a new contract was his biggest relief of the season.
While the battle to sign Dimitar Berbatov went down to the last minutes on deadline day and Ferguson was forced to make an urgent trip to Portugal this summer for talks that gained agreement from Cristiano Ronaldo to stay, it seems the Scot regarded keeping Fletcher just as important.
"The relief of the season was to get Darren a new contract because there were a lot of clubs trying to buy him," said Ferguson.
"He had one year left but he wanted more football.
"Leaving could easily have been a consideration simply because with (Owen) Hargreaves, (Michael) Carrick, (Paul) Scholes and Anderson there is so much competition."
Much like he did with Ronaldo, Ferguson decided to take direct action. A face-to-face chat with his fellow countryman yielded the answers Fletcher had been seeking.
"I just felt Darren is a United player," recalled Ferguson. "He is outstanding in big games, when he always does such a great job.
"I told him he had been brought up at this club and after January, he had been playing in all the big games until he got an injury and not to forget he came back and played some more.
"It convinced him to stay, which was what we wanted because now he is such an important player for us.
"He has developed his game and taken it to a new level."
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