Manchester United have spent over £1.2 billion since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013. That’s a lot of money for zero league titles…
We have ranked all 45 signings made for the first team post-Ferguson. All transfer fees are taken via Transfermarkt. Just a warning, it’s a pretty horrid list.
45) Alexis Sanchez (swap)
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 a talented pianist.
44) Andy Kellett (loan)
43) Angel Di Maria (£67.5m)
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 back when he was sold to PSG less than a year after arriving.
42) Radamel Falcao (£6.8m loan fee)
Another player with a huge reputation; Falcao failed to rediscover his Porto and Atletico Madrid form during his spell with United and then Chelsea.
41) Harry Maguire (£78.3m)
Maguire was named in the team of the tournament at Euro 2020 after a fine showing for England. If only it was as fun for him at club level.
Often the scapegoat and always mocked, the 29-year-old is Manchester United captain and has put in many good displays for the Red Devils. However, the bad tends to outweigh the good and as a result, he has not come close to nearly justifying his hefty price tag.
40) Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£49.5m)
He puts in a mean slide tackle. But that’s about it. Poor in the final third and suspect defensively at times; Wan-Bissaka has simply not been good enough since his big-money move from Crystal Palace.
39) Memphis Depay (£30.6m)
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 to a certain extent.
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 little over half of what United paid for him.
38) Paul Pogba (£94.5m)
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. He has been excellent in fits and starts but nowhere near consistent enough to justify his price. What makes matters worse is that the Frenchman – who is usually bloody terrific for his country – will likely leave Old Trafford on a free for the second time at the end of this season.
37) Morgan Schneiderlin (£31.5m)
Schneiderlin was great for Southampton, so Louis van Gaal brought him to Old Trafford where he was nowhere near good enough. He left for £20m, so it’s not all bad.
36) Donny van de Beek (£35m)
He needs to break free.
35) Bastian Schweinsteiger (£8m)
Schweinsteiger is a Bayern Munich legend and a forgettable Manchester United midfielder.
34) Odion Ighalo (£10.8m loan fee)
£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.
Manchester United have a 5-0 lead going into the second leg of their match with LASK 💪
— GOAL (@goal) August 5, 2020
33) Guillermo Varela (£2m)
The Uruguayan right-back played four times in the Premier League.
35) Romelu Lukaku (£76m)
He scored a decent amount of goals but didn’t do enough to merit a £76m transfer fee.
31) Lee Grant (£1.5m)
Fits the home-grown quota and is at Manchester United for no other reason.
30) Victor Valdes (free)
Both player and club could have done without this move.
29) Tom Heaton (free)
See Lee Grant. But Heaton was a free transfer.
28) Timothy Fosu-Mensah (£342k)
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.
27) Matteo Darmian (£16m)
The Italian was bang average for United and was only sold for £2m.
26) Marouane Fellaini (£29m)
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.
— UnitedReds (@UnitedRedscom) April 12, 2022
25) Marcos Rojo (£18m)
Often erratic, Rojo was box office at times but had an average spell at Old Trafford.
24) Dan James (£16m)
James was never really good enough for Manchester United. The best thing to come from his move is that they turned a profit when they sold him to Leeds United last summer.
23) Nemanja Matic (£40m)
United could really do with a prime Matic – that would solve all of their problems.
22) Eric Bailly (£34m)
Erratic and amusing like Rojo, but for nearly double the price, Bailly has only made seven appearances this season. A summer departure will probably do him and the club a favour.
21) Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£37.8m)
The other half of the worst deal on this list, Mkhitaryan joined with big expectations having provided 90 goal contributions in 140 games for Borussia Dortmund. He scored in a Europa League final victory. He also scored a scorpion kick (that was clearly offside). But anything good he did for United was eclipsed by the woeful swap deal which saw him go to Arsenal.
Mkhitaryan with an amazing Scorpion Kick goal! Goal of the season? 🔥 pic.twitter.com/zKlridRt3V
— Football Cvlture (@FootballCVLTURE) December 26, 2016
20) Facundo Pellistri (£7.6m)
A promising youngster, Pellistri is currently on loan at Alaves where he has failed to impress. Time is on his side, however, with many at Old Trafford putting a lot of faith in the Uruguay international to come good.
19) Amad Diallo (£19m)
Diallo is also on loan, and also not having a great time away from Manchester. His transfer fee might rise to £37m, which is a lot of money. He has certainly shown some promise and the club’s fans are right to be excited by the young Ivorian.
18) Hannibal Mejbri (£9m)
Signed from Monaco in 2019, Mejbri has made one appearance for the United first team and is third of four in this cluster of young players on our list.
17) Tahith Chong (free)
Having paid no transfer fee for the young Dutch winger, United have actually done pretty well here. He has looked decent at times on loan at Birmingham this season but missed a lengthy amount of time thanks to an injury.
16) Daley Blind (£15.7m)
Blind was a handy player to have. Versatile, consistent, rarely outstanding. He played over 140 times in four years at Old Trafford.
15) Juan Mata (£40m)
David Moyes’ second major signing after Fellaini, Mata joined after falling out of favour at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho. He is still at Old Trafford despite being one of the first people bought post-Sir Alex. The Spaniard has played 279 times for the Red Devils, although game time has been hard to come by since the start of 2020/21.
14) Alex Telles (£13.5m)
One of the best back-up full-backs in the Premier League, Telles is currently looking better than his competition, Luke Shaw, who is still suffering from a bit of a Euro 2020 hangover.
13) Diogo Dalot (£19.8m)
Dalot’s time at the club looked up in the summer with Jose Mourinho’s Roma circling, but he has looked relatively solid this term with Rangnick favouring him over Wan-Bissaka in recent months.
12) Anthony Martial (£54m)
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. Out on loan at Sevilla, nobody really knows where he will go from here.
11) Victor Lindelof (£31.5m)
Another expensive centre-half, Lindelof has not been a bad signing. But ‘not bad’ doesn’t really cut the mustard for Manchester United.
10) Fred (£53m)
This time last year, Fred would be nowhere near 10th on this list; he’d be in with Lukaku, Pogba and others as the big-money flops. Yet the Brazilian midfielder has been good this season and is one of the first names on the teamsheet.
– Jadon Sancho 🏴
– Fred 🇧🇷
– Raphael Varane 🇨🇵
– Bruno Fernandes 🇵🇹
4 players that I think will be the foundation of Ten Hag's rebuild at Manchester United. pic.twitter.com/5jD1ukj1tu
— 𝘊𝘢𝘭𝘦𝘣⚡ (@Caleb_Mufc) April 7, 2022
9) Edinson Cavani (free)
Seventeen goals in 39 games last term was a great return from a player signed on a free transfer. He was rewarded with a new contract before United bought Cristiano Ronaldo. This season has not been fun. It’s surprising that he has played 17 times in all honesty. Another one-year contract is about as likely as one regular day of Barclays.
8) Sergio Romero (free)
As far as back-up goalkeepers go, Romero was pretty good. And he was free. Bonus.
7) Raphael Varane (£36m)
Four-time Champions League winner Varane has recency bias, meaning that he hasn’t been at Old Trafford long enough to completely ruin his terrific reputation. Yet.
6) Ander Herrera (£32m)
Herrera was Manchester United fans’ player of the season in 2017 after he helped them win the League Cup and Europa League – the club’s most recent trophy. He played 189 times for the Red Devils and was a fan favourite due to his passion, tireless work rate, and man-marking techniques.
5) Jadon Sancho (£76.5m)
After a difficult start, Sancho has shown some promise since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked. Despite costing a hell of a lot of money, he has the time, ability and potential to actually live up to it – unlike many who came before him.
4) Cristiano Ronaldo (£13.5m)
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.
3) Luke Shaw (£33.7m)
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. If Shaw can rediscover his form, he will be a huge asset for Erik ten Hag, or whoever comes in this summer.
2) Zlatan Ibrahimovic (free)
Honestly, in my eyes, the first signing on this list which was/has been a huge, unqualified success at Old Trafford. It only took 43 players to get here but at least we did in the end.
Zlatan scored 28 goals and provided 10 assists in his only full season, helped them reach the Europa semis before his teammates did the rest and scored a brace in the final of the League Cup as United beat Southampton 3-2. In 17/18, 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)
The only Manchester United signing that has improved since joining the club – according to Rio Ferdinand anyway – Bruno Fernandes has been excellent at Old Trafford, particularly in his first 18 months. In his first season and a half, Fernandes provided 65 goal contributions in 80 games and was the best player in 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.