Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed the club "went the extra mile" to sign Robin Van Persie in the summer because he knew the Dutchman would make the difference in their title push this season.
With a reputation for signing youthful and good value players, Ferguson spent £24million on a forward edging towards 30, with only a year left on his contract and a dubious injury record.
"It was a lot of money for a player in the last year of his contract," said the Scot.
"But the thing about it is - as it proved with Manchester City the year before when they paid £24million for Samir Nasri - you either want him or you don't.
"You have to pay the price that the club are sticking out for, whether it is one year on his contract, two or three.
"We wanted him badly, so we were prepared to go the extra mile."
The rewards have been obvious for the Red Devils, as strikes from the prolific scorer have spared their blushes on numerous occasions already this season, particularly in their recent 2-2 draw with West Ham in the FA Cup, in which the Dutchman scored the dramatic late equaliser and his 20th goal of the season.
"I expected his signing would be important for us," said Ferguson.
"I really did. What he did last season was only the culmination of a few years' experience at Arsenal (he scored 37 goals in all competitions for the Gunners in 2011-12).
"Any player coming to us for the first year, you never know for sure.
"Who would have thought Wayne Rooney would have got a hat-trick on his debut? It is fairytale stuff.
"But what we did know was that we were signing a very good player."