Ousmane Dembele to Manchester United: Ranking every winger to join Red Devils since 2005

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Manchester United are reportedly in talks with Barcelona over a loan deal for winger Ousmane Dembele.

The Red Devils want to sign the French World Cup winner on loan if their pursuit of Jadon Sancho ends in failure.

Borussia Dortmund want €120 million for Sancho, but Man Utd are not prepared to meet the Bundesliga club’s asking price.

As things stand, Dembele is more likely to end up at Old Trafford before the transfer window closes on October 5 than Sancho.

Ahead of the 23-year-old’s potential arrival, we thought we’d look back at every winger United have signed since 2005 and rank them in order from worst to best.

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14. Zoran Tosic

Zoran Tosic has enjoyed a decent career with CSKA Moscow and FK Partizan since leaving Old Trafford in 2010.

Technically, the Serbia international was very good. The big problem was his physicality. A strong breeze would have knocked him over at the time.

“I was put straight into the first-team squad and the levels were so high that it felt like another sport,” Tosic recently admitted in an interview with The Athletic.

“It was very heavy for me in those first weeks in Manchester. The ball moved so quickly in training, the quality was top, top, level.

“Nobody lost the ball, except me. I was trying my best but it wasn’t enough. This wasn’t the football I knew.”

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13. Bebe

He might be a figure of fun in English football following his bizarre move to Man Utd in 2010 but let’s not forget that Bebe did manage to score two goals in seven games for the Red Devils.

The former Portugal Under-21 international has also enjoyed a reasonably good career since leaving Old Trafford, playing for the likes of Eibar and Rayo Vallecano in La Liga.

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12. Wilfried Zaha

It feels harsh putting Wilfried Zaha this low on the list because, as we’re all aware, he’s a fantastic player.

The Ivory Coast international was not given a fair crack of the whip at United and that’s not his fault.

The Red Devils would take him back to Old Trafford in a heartbeat.

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11. Gabriel Obertan

Gabriel Obertan was never good enough to play for Manchester United but at least he tried hard whenever he pulled on the red shirt.

The Frenchman netted one goal in 28 games before moving to Newcastle in 2011.

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10. Alexis Sanchez

Let’s be honest now, Alexis Sanchez really ought to be bottom of this list because he was such a bitter disappointment and cost an astronomical amount of money in wages.

But the former Arsenal star did at least produce a couple moments of quality at the Theatre of Dreams, including a 90th-minute winning goal in a dramatic 3-2 win over Newcastle in October 2018.

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9. Daniel James

Daniel James began his Man Utd career with a bang, scoring three goals in his first four appearances, but has struggled ever since.

It’s still early days in the Welshman’s Old Trafford career but unless his performance-levels improve over the coming months, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him at another club next season.

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8. Angel Di Maria

A world-class player who should have been a massive hit at Old Trafford, Angel Di Maria flopped mainly because of Louis van Gaal.

With another manager in charge, the Argentina international could have flourished in the Premier League. He still produced some brilliant moments, though, including his fantastic lobbed goal against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.

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7. Memphis Depay

Another talented winger who may have enjoyed more success at Man Utd if Van Gaal hadn’t been in charge, Memphis Depay played within himself at times.

The 26-year-old, who has scored 58 goals in 141 games for Lyon, was recently linked with a move to Barcelona.

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6. Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Henrikh Mkhitaryan performed well for United in his debut season, helping the team win the EFL Cup and Europa League in the process.

But he was poor in his second campaign and ended up being offloaded to Arsenal as part of the ill-fated deal which saw Alexis move in the opposite direction.

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5. Ashley Young

Ashley Young often divided opinion during his eight-and-a-half-year spell with United but his attitude could never be called into question. He always worked hard and got what it meant to play for the Red Devils.

Young played 261 times for Man Utd, scoring 19 goals, before moving to Inter Milan in 2020.

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4. Antonio Valencia

Signed by Sir Alex Ferguson when Cristiano Ronaldo left for Real Madrid in the summer of 2009, Antonio Valencia is another player whose attitude was always spot on.

Initially a winger, Valencia eventually moved to right-back and did a fine job in both positions. He also captained the club during his final season.

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3. Anthony Martial

A firm fan favourite, Anthony Martial immediately endeared himself to the Old Trafford faithful by scoring against Liverpool on his debut.

He’s since gone on to score a further 70 goals in a total of 224 appearances.

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2. Park Ji-sung

Underrated by some people, but certainly not by Ferguson or his Man Utd teammates, Park Ji-sung was a key player between 2005-2012.

Fergie would often deploy Park in the big Champions League games to stifle the world’s best midfielders.

“At Milan, [Ferguson] unleashed Park Ji-sung to shadow me,” Andrea Pirlo wrote in his autobiography. “He rushed about at the speed of an electron. He'd fling himself at me, his hands all over my back, trying to intimidate me. He'd look at the ball and not know what it was for.

“They'd programmed him to stop me. His devotion to the task was almost touching. Even though he was a famous player, he consented to being used as a guard dog.”

Park won four Premier League titles, three League Cups, the Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup.

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1. Nani

Nani produced more moments of individual brilliance for Manchester United than you probably remember.

The Portuguese star was outstanding at times but he had one significant problem: people always compared him with his compatriot, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Living up to Ronaldo’s levels was always going to be impossible, but Nani was a great player in his own right for the Red Devils and enjoyed huge success during his eight-year stint in England.

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