Sancho 51st, Ronaldo 9th: Ranking all 55 Manchester United signings since Sir Alex retired
Manchester United have spent over £1.4 billion since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013. That’s a lot of money for zero Premier League titles, especially when you consider how many Manchester City have won in that time…
We have ranked all 55 signings made for the first team post-Ferguson. All transfer fees are taken via Transfermarkt and the number in the bracket next to them is where they placed when this list was initially made in April 2022, with 45 signings accounted for at the time. Any players signed since then will have the number from when they were added.
55) Alexis Sanchez (swap) (45)
The Red Devils signed one of the best players in the Premier League on astronomical wages and he seemed to become an incompetent footballer overnight. At least he is having a renaissance in Marseille
54) Angel Di Maria (£67.5m) (43)
Joining off the back of a man-of-the-match performance in a Champions League final, Di Maria flopped at Old Trafford. The only saving grace from his stint in Manchester is that the club recouped £56.7m when he was sold to PSG less than a year after arriving.
53) Andy Kellett (loan) (44)
52) Radamel Falcao (£6.8m loan fee) (42)
Another player who joined with a huge reputation; Falcao failed to rediscover his Porto and Atletico Madrid form during his spell with United and then Chelsea.
51) Jadon Sancho (£76.5m) (5)
The fact he has time to turn things around is what stops Sancho from being below Di Maria. It has been difficult for the England winger since leaving Borussia Dortmund in 2021 and there clearly is a player in there itching to come out, but it seems like Manchester United is quite simply the wrong club for him.
MORE: Jadon Sancho could prove to be Erik ten Hag’s greatest success story at Manchester United
50) Harry Maguire (£78.3m) (41)
Often the scapegoat and always mocked, the United captain has put in many good displays for the Red Devils. However, the bad outweighs the good and as a result, he has not even come close to nearly justifying his hefty price tag.
A summer transfer benefits everyone involved.
49) Memphis Depay (£30.6m) (39)
Wearing the No. 7 shirt has become something of a curse since Cristiano Ronaldo left in 2009, even for the Portuguese himself since his return last summer.
Depay came in as a terrific youngster from the Netherlands and took on the famous number. The forward scored seven goals in 53 games and left for Lyon for a little over half of what United paid for him.
48) Paul Pogba (£94.5m) (38)
Pogba left United for Juventus on a free transfer in 2012, only to be re-signed by the Premier League club for a world-record transfer fee, to then join Juve on a free transfer in 2022.
He was excellent in fits and starts but nowhere near consistent enough.
47) Morgan Schneiderlin (£31.5m) (37)
Schneiderlin was great for Southampton, so Louis van Gaal brought him to Old Trafford where the Frenchman was nowhere near good enough. He left for £20m, so it’s not all bad. Bloody Everton.
46) Bastian Schweinsteiger (£8m) (35)
Schweinsteiger is a Bayern Munich legend and a forgettable Manchester United midfielder.
45) Martin Dubravka (£2m loan fee) (41)
When Dubravka joined from Newcastle United, many expected him to feature in the Europa League group stage, but Dubravka only played three cup games before having his loan terminated in January. What a pointless transfer.
44) Jack Butland (loan) (39)
Brought in for the rest of the season in January 2022 after Dubravka’s loan ended. Butland has not made a single appearance for the Red Devils.
43) Odion Ighalo (£10.8m loan fee) (34)
£10m is a lot of money for a loan deal, especially when the player doesn’t really improve a team. He did score a beauty against LASK, at the very least.
42) Guillermo Varela (£2m) (33)
The Uruguayan right-back played four times in the Premier League for United.
41) Tahith Chong (free) (17)
Having paid no transfer fee for the young Dutch winger, United looked like they did pretty well. He didn’t get much of a chance and now plays for Birmingham City after completing a £1.5m move last summer.
40) Romelu Lukaku (£76m) (35)
He scored a decent amount of goals but didn’t do enough to merit a £76m transfer fee.
39) Lee Grant (£1.5m) (31)
Fits the home-grown quota and is at Manchester United for no other reason.
38) Victor Valdes (free) (30)
Both player and club could have done without this move.
37) Tom Heaton (free) (29)
See Lee Grant. But Heaton was a free transfer.
36) Donny van de Beek (£35m) (36)
When will it end? When will the pain end?
35) Timothy Fosu-Mensah (£342k) (28)
Fosu-Mensah was pretty cheap and United turned a profit in the end. He made 30 first-team appearances and was quite useful due to his versatility.
34) Dan James (£16m) (24)
James was never good enough for Manchester United and was probably only signed as he was seen as Young and Hungry. The best thing to come from his move is that they turned a profit when they sold him to Leeds United.
33) Matteo Darmian (£16m) (27)
The Italian was bang average for United and was only sold for £2m.
32) Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£49.5m) (40)
This has been a very productive season for Wan-Bissaka, whose attacking ability has come on leaps and bounds under Erik ten Hag.
Unfortunately for the ex-Crystal Palace youngster, his transfer fee will always be a huge factor when assessing his time at Old Trafford.
31) Marouane Fellaini (£29m) (26)
Fellaini was the first signing post-Ferguson after David Moyes bought him on deadline day for a higher price than the release clause that was active earlier in the window. He made 177 appearances for the Red Devils before leaving for Shandong Taishan in 2019.
30) Marcos Rojo (£18m) (25)
Often erratic, Rojo was box office at times but had an average spell at Old Trafford.
29) Eric Bailly (£34m) (22)
Erratic and amusing like Rojo, but for nearly double the price, Bailly only made seven appearances last season before joining Marseille on loan.
28) Wout Weghorst (£2.6m loan fee) (23)
Weghorst came in to fill a gap until the end of the season and was signed for peanuts, unlike Ighalo. Even still, this has been a weird spell for everyone involved.
27) Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£37.8m) (21)
The other half of the worst deal on this list, Mkhitaryan joined with lofty expectations having provided 90 goal contributions in 140 games for Borussia Dortmund.
He scored in a Europa League final victory for United. He also scored a scorpion kick (that would not have counted in the VAR era). But anything good he did for United was eclipsed by the woeful swap deal which saw him go to Arsenal.
26) Nemanja Matic (£40m) (23)
United signed Matic four years too late.
25) Hannibal Mejbri (£9m) (18)
Bought from Monaco in 2019, Mejbri spent the 2022/23 campaign on loan at Birmingham City.
24) Facundo Pellistri (£7.6m) (20)
A promising youngster, Pellistri spent last season on loan at Alaves where he failed to impress. Time is on his side, though, with many at Old Trafford putting a lot of faith in the Uruguay international to come good.
23) Antony (£80m) (16)
The spinning Brazilian cost much more than what he is worth and has had a very average debut season in England.
22) Daley Blind (£15.7m) (16)
Blind was a handy player to have. Versatile, consistent, rarely outstanding. He played over 140 times in four years at Old Trafford.
21) Juan Mata (£40m) (15)
David Moyes’ second major signing after Fellaini, Mata joined after falling out of favour at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho. The Spaniard played 285 times for the Red Devils, with game time hard to come from the start of 2020/21 up until his departure last June.
20) Alex Telles (£13.5m) (14)
Telles was decent when called upon but Ten Hag sent him out on loan to Sevilla in his first summer at Old Trafford. He is expected to leave permanently in the summer window.
19) Anthony Martial (£54m) (12)
Martial joined as the most expensive teenager in world football, scored a wonderful goal on his debut and was being compared to Thierry Henry. He scored 17 goals in 32 Premier League matches in 2019/20 and looked like he was coming of age. Since then, he has looked slow and poor in front of goal.
After a loan spell at Sevilla last term, Ten Hag has given Martial another chance, though he has struggled to stay fit.
18) Victor Lindelof (£31.5m) (11)
Another expensive centre-half, Lindelof has not been a bad signing. But ‘not bad’ doesn’t really cut the mustard for Manchester United.
17) Amad Diallo (£19m) (19)
After a rubbish loan spell with Europa League finalists Rangers, Diallo was being written off by many (myself included). However, his time with Sunderland this season has been superb with the young Ivorian increasing his transfer value and staking a claim for minutes in the Premier League, whether that be for Manchester United or someone else.
Having said that, his transfer fee could rise to £37m, which still looks like a poor investment.
16) Tyrell Malacia (£13m) (15)
Malacia is a nice player who was signed for a very respectable fee. He quickly shifted Luke Shaw out of the starting XI before generously giving his spot back to the England international.
15) Sergio Romero (free) (8)
As far as back-up goalkeepers go, Romero was pretty good. And he cost bugger all, which is always a bonus.
14) Marcel Sabitzer (loan) (21)
As far as half-season emergency loans go, this has been a roaring success. United can reportedly land Sabitzer on a permanent basis for around £25m in the summer, which is a bargain in today’s market.
13) Edinson Cavani (free) (9)
Seventeen goals in 39 games in his first season was a great return from a player signed on a free transfer. He was rewarded with a new contract before United bought Cristiano Ronaldo. 2021/22 was not fun for Cavani.
12) Raphael Varane (£36m) (7)
Since moving to Manchester, Varane has failed to convince everyone that he is in fact a four-time Champions League winner. Injuries haven’t helped him, mind.
The French international has formed a decent partnership with Lisandro Martinez but it would not be a surprise to see him replaced in the starting XI in time for 2023/24 kicking off.
11) Ander Herrera (£32m) (6)
Herrera was Manchester United fans’ player of the season in 2017 after he helped them win the League Cup and Europa League. He played 189 times for the Red Devils and was a fan favourite due to his passion, tireless work rate, and man-marking techniques; just ask Eden Hazard.
10) Fred (£53m) (10)
A couple of seasons ago Fred was in the same bracket as Lukaku, Pogba, and others as the big-money flops. But the Brazilian midfielder has been pretty good over the two years.
£53m is still a bit steep, though.
9) Cristiano Ronaldo (£13.5m) (4)
There’s not a lot to say that has not already been said. £13.5m for the most marketable footballer on the planet isn’t too bad at the end of the day. Even if it ended up turning into the biggest circus in world football.
8) Diogo Dalot (£19.8m) (13)
Dalot’s time at the club looked up in the summer of 2021 with Jose Mourinho’s Roma circling, but he has since established himself as the club’s first-choice right-back ahead of Wan-Bissaka, before it became the flip of a coin for Ten Hag.
7) Luke Shaw (£33.7m) (3)
He has been criticised for his fitness and defending during his United career, but he is one of few to actually live up to his transfer fee.
Shaw has had a stellar season under Ten Hag and is one player you cannot see being replaced any time soon.
6) Alejandro Garnacho (£400k) (10)
£400,000 is a bloody bargain for someone who looks like they have a lot of potential. Garnacho earned his first Premier League start against Aston Villa last November and has not looked back since. Except maybe at the horrible decision to dye his hair blonde.
5) Lisandro Martinez (£50m) (5)
Martinez is a brilliant footballer who has adapted to Premier League life very quickly despite being written off before stepping foot in Old Trafford. The Argentine World Cup winner attracted interest from Arsenal before joining United and it is clear to see why.
4) Christian Eriksen (free) (4)
A lot of us fancied Eriksen to be the bargain of the summer and he has been consistently solid since joining. His story is fantastic and there aren’t many better free transfers out there.
3) Casemiro (£61.5m) (3)
After spending the whole 2022 summer transfer window chasing Frenkie de Jong, United realised that Casemiro was sitting right there willing to slot straight into their midfield.
Ten Hag’s side are a much better team with the Brazilian defensive midfielder on the pitch, which is not as often as they’d like, the hot-headed so-and-so…
2) Zlatan Ibrahimovic (free) (2)
This is arguably the first signing on this list which was/has been a huge, unqualified success at Old Trafford. It only took 53 players to get here but at least we did.
Zlatan scored 28 goals and provided 10 assists in his only full season, helped the Red Devils win the Europa League and scored a brace in the final of the League Cup as they beat Southampton 3-2 at Wembley. In 2017/18, he struggled for fitness and left for LA Galaxy, for whom he scored 22 goals in 27 games in the same campaign.
1) Bruno Fernandes (£56.7m) (1)
Although his performances are not as good as they were during the behind-closed-doors days, Bruno Fernandes has been an excellent signing. In his first season and a half, Fernandes provided 65 goal contributions in 80 games and was the best player in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side by a country mile.
He is one of the best midfielders in the Premier League and a rare bit of great business by the Red Devils.
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