The Glazers were happy to spend over the odds to bring Robin van Persie to Manchester United as a farewell present to Sir Alex Ferguson. The Mail on Sunday says Ferguson went to unprecedented lengths to push through the deal for Van Persie, believing it was the only way for him to leave a fitting legacy when he retires aged 72 in the summer of 2014.

Many inside United, including chief executive David Gill, questioned whether a £64million investment in Van Persie - a £24m transfer fee plus £200,000-a-week wages for four years - was prudent.

But having given the Glazer family his public support over the years, against the wishes of many United fans, the owners gave Ferguson payback by bankrolling the deal.