The best and worst Manchester United signings since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013

samiros
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The best and worst Manchester United signings since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013

Post by samiros » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:32 am

Manchester United bowed out of the Champions League to Barcelona 4-0 on aggregate on Tuesday night, leaving only a top-four finish in the Premier League as the club's remaining aim for the season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are currently sixth, two points behind fourth-placed Arsenal.

While elimination at the hands Barcelona is by no means an embarrassment, too many players have reverted to their previously underwhelming personas after a mid-season mini-revival under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Too many were second best in all areas across 180 minutes to Lionel Messi and co.

Recruitment will be essential this summer if Solskjaer is to restore United as a force both at home and in Europe next season.

The Norwegian, who was named United's permanent manager in March after a hugely impressive spell as caretaker, will do well to look back on the club's signings since Alex Ferguson stepped down as manager in 2013 to see the type of player United should avoid signing.

David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have all occupied the hottest of hot seats in English football. Too many of their signings have failed to catch fire.

Scroll through the gallery above to see the hits and flops, and any United signings in the post-Ferguson era the jury is still out on.

The best and worst Manchester United signings

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Marouane Fellaini - Before you pelt us with eggs, hear us out. The Belgian midfielder was the "go-to" guy for David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho in times of crisis and with good reason. While Fellaini lacked grace, his physicality gave United a muscular presence in midfield and in both areas. He won the FA Cup (2016), League and Europa League (both 2017) before moving to China in January 2019. While he may not be remembered as an all-time great at Old Trafford, he is certainly one of the better signings since Alex Ferguson stepped down in 2013.

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Radamel Falcao - Four goals in 26 appearances during an underwhelming 2014/15 season on loan at United tells its own story. Injuries had taken their toll on the Colombian rendering Falcao a shadow of the striker so prolific at Porto and Atletico Madrid. Is once again among the goals at Monaco.

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Daley Blind - the versatile Dutchman won the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League during a four-year spell at Old Trafford but never really nailed down a regular spot of place at Manchester United. Was sold back to Ajax in the summer of 2018 where he has established himself as part of an exciting team that has just reached the Champions League semi-finals.

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Juan Mata - it can be argued that the Spanish playmaker has never quite hit the heights expected of him when United made him their record €46 million signing from Chelsea in January 2014. But Mata is a class act. Often played out of position by Van Gaal and Mourinho, still has the ability to create space and unlock packed defences with his sublime passing and awareness of teammates.

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Marcus Rojo - on his day the Argentine is a formidable defender who can operate at both centre-back and left-back. But injuries have blighted his time at Old Trafford.

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Angel di Maria - voted man of the match as Real Madrid hammered neighbours Atletico in the 2014 Champions League final before joining United that summer for a club record £59.7 million. Though the Argentine winger showed glimpses of his undoubted ability, a break in at his Manchester home in February 2015 derailed him and he left for Paris Saint-Germain that summer.

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Luke Shaw - Suffered an horrific double leg break in a Champions League match against PSV Eindhoven in September 2015 that curtailed a promising start to the 2015/16 campaign after an indifferent first season at Old Trafford. Often the target of criticism under Jose Mourinho, who cited the defender's apparent issues with weight and tactical nous as reasons for leaving him out of the team, Shaw has reestablished himself as one of the Premier League's finest left-backs this term.

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Sergio Romero - First-team opportunities are hard to come by when the man you are trying to dislodge is David de Gea, one of the finest goalkeepers in world football. But Romero has proved himself an able, if underused, deputy when called upon.

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Matteo Darmian - in this reporter's opinion, Darmian is the worst United signing in the post-Ferguson era. Lacks the uncompromising gene found in most Italian defenders and offers nothing as an attacking threat from right-back.

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Memphis Depay - signed by compatriot Van Gaal, the Netherlands forward failed to make the grade at Old Trafford before being sold to Lyon in 2017. Two goals in 33 United appearances is in mark contrast to his healthy returns at both PSV Eindhoven and Lyon either side of his spell in England.

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Anthony Martial - announced his arrival in the Premier League with a superb solo goal against Liverpool in 2015 that left Martin Skrtel in knots. On his day the Frenchman is one of the most difficult to contain forwards in the Premier League, but those days need to become a little more regular.

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Bastian Schweinsteiger - rightly regarded as one of the finest midfielders of his generation as the heartbeat of all conquering Bayern Munich and the Germany team that were crowned World Cup winners in 2014. Personified the uninspiring, no thrust, sideways passing of the Van Gaal era. Joined MLS side Chicago Fire in 2017.

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Diogo Dalot - has shown signs he can provide an attacking thrust from right-back much like predecessor Antonio Valencia.

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Morgan Schneiderlin - another nuts-and-bolts midfielder who rarely did anything to catch the eye at United. Was sold to Everton in January 2017.

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic - The Swede arrived in the Premier League in July 2016 having, in his own words, conquered Paris after winning all there was to win (several times over) at Paris Saint-Germain. Never the shy and retiring type, Ibrahimovic announced his arrival with a long-range strike on his Premier League debut against Bournemouth and two more against Southampton at Old Trafford. A serious knee injury in April 2017 ruled him out for the remainder of the season but still picked up a League Cup and Europa League winner's medal. Became the oldest player to manage at least 15 goals in a single Premier League season at the age of 35 years and 125 days.

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Eric Bailly - The Ivorian is one of a host of centre-backs signed post-Ferguson who has failed to live up to more illustrious predecessors such as Gary Pallister, Jaap Stam, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. Was hauled off by Jose Mourinho after only 19 minutes in a Premier League match against Newcastle United in October 2018 with the Magpies already 2-0 up. United went on to win 3-2.

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Paul Pogba - returned to the club where he had spent his formative years after a trophy-laden spell with Juventus. Signed for a then world record €105 million, Pogba has shown flashes of his undoubted brilliance but not nearly enough for the United faithful. A strained relationship with Jose Mourinho didn't help the Frenchman's cause, but on his day Pogba is one of the best midfielders on the planet.

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan - was one of Europe's hottest properties when United signed the Armenian from Borussia Dortmund in 2016. Failed to catch fire in his debut season and tailed off horribly after a decent start in 2017/18. Was part of a swap deal that saw Alexis Sanchez move from Arsenal to Old Trafford with Mkhitaryan heading the other way.

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Victor Lindelof - there were few signs the Swedish centre-back would join the pantheon of great United centre-backs during an underwhelming first 18 months at Old Trafford but Lindelof is quickly emerging as one of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's most trusted foot soldiers. His reading of the game and anticipation during matches is improving all the time.

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Alexis Sanchez - there is no way to sugar coat it: the Chilean's arrival from Arsenal has been nothing short of a disaster. Few United fans would be sad to see him leave in the summer.

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Nemanja Matic - a calm and reassuring presence in the midfield of Chelsea's title-winning campaigns of 2015 and 2017, the tall Serb has failed to have the same impact at United. United fans have given him the unwanted moniker of Nemanja "Static" as games have passed him by this season.

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Romelu Lukaku - the Belgian striker has found goals harder to come by this term with Solskjaer preferring Marcus Rashford in the centre-forward role. Lukaku arrived with a reputation as a flat-track bully with massive holes in his stand-up game. Although he is an upgraded version of the player they signed from Everton, still lacks in too many areas to ever be considered world class.

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Ander Herrera - the Spanish midfielder is one of the most underrated players in the league, in this reporter's opinion. An assassin whose strengths are in breaking up play in United's defensive third, not playing on the right-hand side of a back three, as his previous manager Jose Mourinho, was fond of doing.

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Fred - this might be a bit harsh, given it is the Brazilian midfielder's first season in English football, but he has thus far failed to live up to the fanfare in which he was signed. Industrious and intelligent on the ball, Fred's priorities must be to establish himself as a regular under Solskjaer if he is to truly flourish.



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