The 10 biggest Manchester United transfers of all time and how they fared: Pogba, Antony, Maguire…
Manchester United are one of the richest clubs in the world and they are no strangers to spending large sums of money in the transfer market.
There have been some notable success stories but also a fair few flops that have failed to live up to expectations at Old Trafford.
We’ve taken a look at the 10 most expensive signings in United’s history and how those players subsequently fared after completing the move.
Note: we’ve only used the initial transfer fees and haven’t taken into account any potential add-ons.
10. Bruno Fernandes – £46.6m
After enduring a difficult start to the 2019/20 season, United signed Fernandes from Sporting in the January transfer window.
The midfielder hit the ground running and quickly became a fan favourite at Old Trafford, winning the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award in 2019/20 and 2020/21.
He’s now scored 64 goals for United in all competitions and has also established himself as one of the most creative players in Europe.
The Portugal international has undoubtedly been United’s best signing in the post-Ferguson era, and the £46.6m transfer fee looks like a bargain.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 28, 2023
9. Fred – £47m
United fought off competition from local rivals Manchester City to sign Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk for an initial £47m in the summer of 2018.
The Brazil international has been a divisive figure throughout his time at the club and >is often on the receiving end of criticism from Roy Keane.
But his hard work and commitment to the cause made him a key player for both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, and he has made over 200 appearances for United.
The 30-year-old has since fallen down the pecking order under Erik ten Hag, who is reportedly looking to sell him this summer and has set a £20million asking price.
8. Lisandro Martinez – £48.3m
After working with Martinez at Ajax, Ten Hag brought the defender to United in a deal that could ultimately cost £56.7million.
The 25-year-old had a rocky start to life in the Premier League and some pundits argued that he was too small to succeed as a centre-back.
He has since made a mockery of his doubters, forming a brilliant partnership with Raphael Varane and establishing himself as one of the best defenders in the Premier League.
The Argentina international is also a cult hero among United fans as he wears his heart on his sleeve and is willing to put his body on the line.
7. Angel Di Maria – £59.7m
Having produced a man-of-the-match performance for Real Madrid in the 2014 Champions League final, expectations were high when Di Maria joined United.
He made a strong start to his Old Trafford career with three goals and four assists in his first six games, including that sensational chip at Leicester City.
But everything went downhill from there as the Argentina international struggled to settle in Manchester and also had a poor relationship with Louis van Gaal.
Despite signing a five-year contract at United, he left after just one solitary season and joined Paris Saint-Germain in a £44.3million deal.
6. Casemiro – £60m
There were a few eyebrows raised when United splashed out an initial £60million on a 30-year-old Casemiro in the summer of 2022.
But the Brazil international enjoyed an excellent debut season at Old Trafford and cemented his status as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world.
He also helped end United’s six-year trophy drought by scoring the opener against Newcastle in their 2023 Carabao Cup final victory.
“Casemiro, in this team, he is such a leader, and he is so important for us,” Ten Hag said. “Not only with his performances, skills, like scoring a goal, or his header [against Newcastle], or like linking up or intercepting balls. [He is important to our] organisation. The mentality, the culture, and we are so happy that we signed him.”
— Carabao Cup (@Carabao_Cup) February 27, 2023
5. Jadon Sancho – £73m
During his time at Borussia Dortmund, Sancho established himself as one of the most exciting attacking talents in the world.
After a protracted 18-month pursuit, the Manchester City academy graduate returned to England and joined United in the summer of 2021.
But he’s yet to replicate his stunning Bundesliga form in the Premier League, registering just nine goals and six assists in the competition.
The 23-year-old winger now faces an uncertain future at Old Trafford and has been linked with a return to Dortmund.
4. Romelu Lukaku – £75m
After Wayne Rooney left United and returned to Everton in the summer of 2017, Lukaku moved in the opposite direction in a £75m deal.
He scored an impressive 27 goals in all competitions in his debut season as United finished as runners-up in the Premier League and the FA Cup.
But the goals dried up in his second campaign, and the Belgium international became a much-maligned figure at Old Trafford.
United still managed to recoup most of the transfer fee when they sold Lukaku to Inter Milan for £73million in 2019.
3. Harry Maguire – £80m
Brought in from Leicester City for £80million in 2019, Maguire replaced Virgil van Dijk as the most expensive defender in football history.
The England international was named United captain a few months later and kept a total of 26 Premier League clean sheets during his first two seasons at the club, more than any other outfield player in that period.
But his form took a nosedive amid United’s struggles in the 2021/22 season, and he made a number of high-profile mistakes.
The 30-year-old has fallen out of favour under Ten Hag and United are reportedly prepared to offload him this summer at a considerable loss.
2. Antony – £82m
Alongside Lisandro Martinez, Ten Hag also reunited with Antony in the summer of 2022 after United agreed to meet Ajax’s asking price.
The Brazil international is yet to justify the £82million price tag and has been criticised for his lack of end product after registering just eight goals and three assists in his debut season.
“Of course, we expect front-line players to be a threat but also have an effect in the final third,” Ten Hag admitted. “He has to work on that.”
He still showed flashes of brilliance in 2022/23 and won United’s Goal of the Season award for his half-volley against Barcelona.
— UtdPlug (@UtdPlug) May 29, 2023
1. Paul Pogba – £89m
Four years after leaving United for Juventus on a free transfer, Pogba returned to Old Trafford in 2016 for a then world-record transfer fee.
He enjoyed an impressive debut season in 2016/17, helping Jose Mourinho’s side lift the League Cup and scoring in the Europa League final win over Ajax.
But that was about as good as it got for the France international, who was often criticised for not showcasing his talents on a consistent basis.
He became a polarising figure among United fans and left the club on a free transfer once again at the end of the 2021/22 season.
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