Manchester United’s transfer window was a mess from start to finish.
They were linked with Jadon Sancho for the entirety and the £108million asking price didn’t even seem unreasonable. But for Ed Woodward, it apparently was.
He’s the villain in all this as he always is.
The executive vice-chairman is accused of not being a ‘football man’ and for not hiring a director of football to oversee transfers.
United fans may see Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013 as the sliding doors moment at their club. But maybe it was Woodward taking control of transfers.
We’ve decided to rank each of the 15 transfer windows under Woodward’s guidance from worst to best - and it makes for ugly reading.
14. 2017/18 winter
Alexis Sanchez Swap
Perhaps the worst signing in Manchester United history. Five goals in 45 appearances sums it up. And just think about those wages!
113= 2015/16 winter, 2016/17 winter and 2018/19 winter
Yeah, even the winter transfer windows where United didn’t even sign anyone was better than the window where they only signed Alexis…
11. 2013/14 summer
Marouane Fellaini £27.5m
David Moyes’ first transfer window in charge was a disaster. Moyes instructed Woodward to target Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara, Andre Herrera, Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini. They ended with just Fellaini - for £4million more than his release clause. The much-maligned Belgian did play 177 times for the Red Devils, scoring 22 goals. Wasting £27.5million is better than wasting hundreds of million on several players.
10. 2018/19 summer
Lee Grant £1.5m
Diogo Dalot £19m
Mourinho wanted a centre-back and targeted Harry Maguire and Jerome Boateng. But Woodward refused to cough up considering they had Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof at the club. Instead, they signed a back-up goalkeeper, a full-back and a midfielder - all of which can hardly be considered a success.
9. 2014/15 summer
Ander Herrera £29m
Luke Shaw £27m
Andreas Pereira free
Marcos Rojo £16m
Angel di Maria £59.7m
Daley Blind £13.8m
Radamel Falcao £16m loan
Under Louis van Gaal, Woodward was determined to spend big. Falcao was a disaster, Angel di Maria can go down as a £60m flop, while Luke Shaw hasn’t done much to pay back his £27m fee. Ander Herrera was decent for United, while Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind can be considered acceptable signings for their fee. Andreas Pereira played 75 times - not a bad return from a free transfer.
8. 2015/16 summer
Memphis Depay £25m
Matteo Darmian £12.7m
Bastian Schweinsteiger £14.4m
Morgan Schneiderin £25m
Sergio Romero free
Anthony Martial £36m
A busy summer but, in hindsight, a pretty miserable one. None of Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger or Morgan Schneiderin can be considered good signings. Anthony Martial for £36m is probably the best of a bad bunch. But the window will always be remembered for ‘faxgate’ and David de Gea’s failed move to Real Madrid.
7. 2014/15 winter
Victor Valdes free
A window where your only signing is a back-up but it’s still a better window than most says it all really…
6. 2020/21 summer
Donny van de Beek £35m
Edinson Cavani free
Alex Telles £13.6m
They wanted Jadon Sancho, they didn’t get him. Donny van de Beek arrived early in the summer before deadline day moves for Edinson Cavani and Alex Telles. It reeked of desperation.
5. 2013/14 winter
Juan Mata £37.1m
He’s played more than 250 times for the club and has proven his worth despite his advancing years.
4. 2016/17 summer
Paul Pogba £89.3m
Henrikh Mkhitaryan £31m
Eric Bailly £30m
Zlatan Ibrahimovic free
The biggest transfer window under Woodward with Jose Mourinho splashing out £149million. The jury is still out on whether Paul Pogba was worth the £89.3m. On his day, yes. But there’s no way Eric Bailly was worth the £30m. He still can’t defend. Henrikh Mkhitaryan was eventually swapped with Alexis Sanchez which says it all. Zlatan offered glimpses of his brilliance before a serious knee injury.
3. 2019/20 summer
Harry Maguire £80m
Daniel James £15m
Aaron Wan-Bissaka £50m
The fact this is United’s third-best transfer window under Woodward is just baffling. They overpaid for Harry Maguire, who is now club captain. They overpaid for Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James isn’t United standard. And yet it's better than most.
2. 2017/18 summer
Romelu Lukaku £75m
Nemanja Matic £40m
Victor Lindelof £31m
Romelu Lukaku was a bit of a scapegoat at United despite scoring 42 goals in 96 appearances. Nemanja Matic passes as an acceptable signing. But Lindelof doesn’t look as though he’s Man Utd standard.
1. 2019/20 winter
Bruno Fernandes £47m
They only signed one player but what a signing it’s proven to be. The fact that United’s best transfer window came when they only signed one player says it all.
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