Hindsight, as they say, is a wonderful thing and that certainly rings true when it comes to Manchester United’s transfer policy under Louis van Gaal.
With the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Memphis Depay and the promising Anthony Martial recruited over the summer, hopes were high that the club could compete for major honours both domestically and in Europe.
But with United enduring some miserable form in the Premier League and already out of the Champions League, questions are now being asked about the Red Devils’ strategy when it comes to player recruitment.
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One particular bone of contention concerns the number of high profile stars that were allowed to leave the club in the summer.
And, to make matters worse, several of the players deemed surplus to requirements by Van Gaal at Old Trafford are currently tearing it up elsewhere.
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ROBIN VAN PERSIE
Granted, the Dutchman may now be past his peak and far from enjoying a perfect start to life with new club Fenerbahce, but he’s still outscoring all of United’s current attacking options.
Van Persie has netted six goals in 19 games to date in Turkey and with five of those coming in the league has outscored both Juan Mata and Martial - United’s top scorers in the Premier League.
Highly rated by Sir Alex Ferguson upon his arrival at Old Trafford in the summer 2012, Henriquez was never given a look-in by David Moyes or Van Gaal, with the Chilean sent out on three loan deals during his time at the club.
The most recent came with Dinamo Zagreb, where a return of 30 goals in 37 games should have been enough to convince Van Gaal to give the 21-year-old a chance upon his return.
It wasn’t and Henriquez ultimately moved to the Croatian side on a permanent basis last summer, where he has already scored eight times in 15 games this term.
Though not everyone’s cup of tea during his time at Old Trafford, Cleverley showed himself to be a very capable midfielder during a season-long loan at Aston Villa that included an FA Cup final appearance.
Recruited by Everton following the expiration of his contract at United, the Englishman has impressed for the Toffees with a last-gasp winner against Newcastle on Boxing Day among the notable highlights.
Admittedly far from impressive in the latter stages of his career at United, a season loan move to Sporting Lisbon saw Nani rediscover the kind of form that convinced Ferguson to shell out €25.5 million for the midfielder back in 2007.
But rather than keep hold of the Portuguese winger, Van Gaal opted to sell Nani to Fenerbahce for a paltry £4.25 million. The 29-year-old has responded in style, scoring seven goals in 23 games with six of these coming in the league.
ANGEL DI MARIA
The Red Devils' record signing endured a difficult debut season at Old Trafford, during which a burglary played a significant role off the pitch and affected his performances on it.
Having managed just four goals in 32 largely anonymous performances for United, Di Maria has since enjoyed a major upturn in fortunes after Van Gaal allowed the South American to move to Paris Saint-Germain.
The 29-year-old has already scored nine goals in 20 games as well as providing countless assists for a PSG side currently 19 points clear of their nearest challengers in Ligue 1.
Though he rarely had the chance to impress during a surprise loan move to Real Madrid last season, a return of nine goals in 33 appearances, mostly as a substitute, for Los Blancos should have been enough to convince Van Gaal to keep hold of the Mexican.
Instead, Chicharito was sold on to Bayer Leverkusen for just £7.3 million mere hours before the close of the summer transfer window. Hernandez has been in sensational form ever since, with 19 goals to his name from just 22 games.
A return of 11 from 14 Bundesliga appearances is impressive enough, but it’s his tally of five in six Champions League games that really rams home the mistake made by United's manager.
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