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On this day in 2004: Manchester United sign striker Louis Saha from Fulham

Louis Saha joined Manchester United on this day in 2004 (Gareth Copley/PA)
Louis Saha joined Manchester United on this day in 2004 (Gareth Copley/PA)

Louis Saha joined Manchester United for £12.83million from Fulham on this day in 2004, signing a five-and-a-half-year deal at Old Trafford.

The France international had spent three and a half years at Craven Cottage after joining from Metz in 2000, scoring 63 goals in 142 appearances.

It was said his performance in Fulham’s 3-1 win at Old Trafford in October 2003 – Saha did not score in the match but was instrumental in Fulham’s attacking play – convinced Sir Alex Ferguson to bring him to United.

Man Utd v Leicester
His first full season in Manchester was hampered by injury (Martin Rickett/PA)

He made an immediate impact, scoring on his debut against Southampton, and going on to bag seven goals in 10 starts over the rest of the campaign.

But his first full season in United colours was hampered by a succession of injuries, two of them sustained while on international duty with France, and he was limited to only 11 starts and 11 substitute appearances, scoring two goals.

He also missed the start of the following season with a hamstring problem, an all too familiar pattern over the course of his four-and-a-half-year United campaign.

Soccer – Carling Cup – Final – Manchester United v Wigan Athletic – Millennium Stadium
Louis Saha partnered Wayne Rooney in their League Cup final victory over Wigan (Rui Vieira/PA)

There were highs – during the 2005-06 season he was the regular partner for Wayne Rooney in the League Cup and scored in the 4-0 final victory over Wigan.

But, having been handed his chance as first choice in the Premier League following Ruud van Nistelrooy’s departure for Real Madrid, injury woes struck again in the second half of the 2006-07 season.

After a succession of injuries disrupted him again the following campaign, Saha would leave United for Everton in the summer of 2008, having scored 42 goals in 120 appearances.