While Fergie missed Manchester United's annual open day with fans, he spent the time spying on the 21-year-old German Mesut Ozil.
While more than 5,000 United supporters tried to spot their manager as United's players trained in public at Old Trafford, Ferguson was 200 miles away at Fulham's Craven Cottage to watch Ozil, who could be the biggest transfer window bargain as he only has one year left on his contract at Werder Bremen and might cost as little as £15million - half his real transfer market value.
Ferguson was reluctant to make any more signings in this window following the purchases of Javier Hernandez and Chris Smalling. But with Real Madrid and Arsenal also tracking Ozil, he does not want to be left behind in the chase for a player who could light up Old Trafford for a decade.
Ozil, whose parents are Turkish, became a symbol of a 'new Germany' at the World Cup as they ripped apart their reputation for dull efficiency to hammer four goals past England and Argentina.
The exciting midfield player scored one of the goals of the tournament with a long-range shot against Ghana and set up goals against England and Argentina with his dazzling footwork.
Significantly, Ferguson also feels he possesses the big-match mentality required to cope with the pressure of expectation at Old Trafford.
The race for Ozil, who was only a substitute as Werder Bremen were beaten 5-1 by Mark Hughes's Fulham in a friendly, is now set to be one of the most competitive. Jose Mourinho, who has already signed Ozil's fellow German World Cup player Sami Khedira, wants Ozil to stand in for the injured Kaka, while Arsene Wenger sees Ozil as a perfect fit for Arsenal's pass-and-move style.
But Ferguson is in pole position, with Ozil happy to see the United manager taking such a strong personal interest as he prepared for today's Community Shield.
How soon he can sign him may depend on how Bremen fare in their Champions League qualifier against Sampdoria later this month. If they are eliminated after the second leg on August 24, they are likely to want to sell their talisman rather than lose him for nothing on a Bosman next summer