Larsson can win us title, says Ferguson

December 2, 2006

Sir Alex Ferguson has predicted new arrival Henrik Larsson could help catapult Manchester United to title glory this season.

Ferguson pulled off the surprise of the season when he confirmed Larsson's capture on a three-month loan from Helsingborgs on Friday.

The 35-year-old will join United at the beginning of January and remain at Old Trafford until March 12, making him available for a maximum of 13 matches, including the first Champions League knockout round and testing Premiership trips to Arsenal and Liverpool.

And, while Larsson will not be around long enough to make as big an impact as Eric Cantona when he joined the Red Devils in 2002, Ferguson believes the veteran Swede can also become a catalyst for success.

'Adding Henrik to our squad improves our chances of winning things,' said Ferguson.

'When it gets down to the last few months of the season, experience and nerve counts for a lot.

'In those situations, we look to Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Now we also have Henrik.

'He has maturity and intelligence and he can play anywhere across the front line and I am sure he can help us change things at a very important part of the season.'

Although it had been widely predicted Ferguson would reinforce his striking options during the January transfer window, no-one anticipated a move for Larsson.

With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer due to return from a hamstring injury next week, Alan Smith now pushing himself through a personal fitness programme and Giuseppe Rossi set to come back to United next month after an unsuccessful loan stint with Newcastle, Ferguson now believes he has enough forward power to see him through until the season reaches its climax.

'We won't be going for any other strikers,' confirmed the United boss, who had been linked with big-money moves for Fernando Torres and Charlton's Darren Bent.

'We have exhausted all avenues and this, without doubt, is the best option.'

Although Larsson has never played in England, his phenomenal record in Scotland - 242 goals in 315 appearances during seven highly-successful years at Celtic - suggests he can make an impact, with Ferguson claiming the Swede was the inspiration behind Barcelona's Champions League triumph against Arsenal last season.

'I have known about Henrik for a long time,' said Ferguson.

'He is a great character and has a fantastic pedigree. I watched him in the Champions League final and he changed things around completely that night. I have no doubt he can do it in the Premiership.'