Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Man Utd’s 10 best and 10 worst signings since 2013

  • Rob Swan

Things are suddenly looking rosy again for Manchester United.

Since their elimination from the Champions League earlier this month, the Red Devils have drawn 0-0 with Manchester City and sealed back-to-back wins over Sheffield United and Leeds.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are unbeaten in the Premier League since November 1 and have won six of their previous seven fixtures, leaving them third in the table.

Currently five points behind leaders Liverpool with a game in hand, some United fans are starting to believe that an unlikely title challenge is on the cards.

However, you have to wonder where United be without their talismanic midfielder Bruno Fernandes.


The Portuguese ace has scored nine goals and provided six assists in just 13 league appearances this season.

Fernandes, who scored eight goals and registered eight assists during the second half of last season after completing a £47 million move from Sporting Lisbon, is surely United’s best signing of the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.

We’ve decided to rank the best and worst signings since Fergie’s departure in the summer of 2013.

It’s too early to judge United’s most-recent signings Edinson Cavani, Amad Diallo, Facundo Pellistri, Alex Telles and Donny van de Beek, so none of them are eligible for selection.

10 best signings

10. Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Signed from Crystal Palace in a deal worth an eyebrow-raising £50 million in 2019, Aaron Wan-Bissaka could be Man Utd’s first-choice right-back for the next 10 years.

There’s still plenty of room for improvement in his game, of course, but the early signs are promising.


9. Romelu Lukaku

Was selling Romelu Lukaku a mistake? Possibly. The Belgian has scored an impressive 49 goals in 68 games for Inter Milan over the past season-and-a-half.

Lukaku netted 42 goals in 96 matches for the Red Devils but was often criticised by supporters for both his technique and work ethic. That said, a goal every other game was still a decent return.


8. Harry Maguire

The jury is still out on Harry Maguire, who became the most expensive defender of all time when he joined United from Leicester City in a deal worth £80 million in 2019.

While there have been more than a few unconvincing performances from the England international, the current United captain has been decent on the whole and you sense the best is still to come.


7. Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba has divided opinion among Man Utd supporters throughout his second spell at Old Trafford.

While it’s true that the World Cup winner has flattered to deceive on too many occasions, it’s important to remember that he has scored 26 goals and provided the same number of assists in 121 Premier League appearances.

This is likely to be Pogba’s final season at Man Utd and fans will be hoping he does his utmost to ensure he bows out on a high.


6. Ander Herrera

The Old Trafford faithful were understandably disappointed when Ander Herrera opted to join Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer in the summer of 2019.

The Spaniard always put in maximum effort each time he pulled on the famous red shirt.


5. Fred

Fred deserves huge credit for turning things around for himself at Man Utd.

The Brazilian was hugely disappointing during his first season following his £47 million move from Shakhtar Donetsk in the summer of 2018 but is now one of the first names on Solskjaer’s teamsheet – particularly for the big games.


4. Juan Mata

Probably the most excited United fans have been with any signing in the post-Fergie era, Juan Mata arrived from Chelsea in James Bond-style via a helicopter midway through David Moyes’ ill-fated season in charge.

The Spaniard has made over 260 appearances for the Premier League giants and will forever occupy a special place in the hearts of supporters thanks to his performance against Liverpool at ‘Juanfield’ in March 2015.


3. Anthony Martial

Seventy-four goals in 236 games is a decent return from the French forward, who was an unknown quantity when Louis van Gaal brought him to Old Trafford from AS Monaco in 2015.

Like his compatriot Pogba, Martial tends to divide opinion but has the support of many of the club’s fans.


2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

It may have been a brief romance, but both Zlatan and United’s fans will always remember it fondly.

The charismatic Swede scored 28 goals during his first season at Old Trafford, winning the EFL Cup and the Europa League in the process, before a serious injury effectively ended his spell with the English outfit.


1. Bruno Fernandes

There’s no doubt that Fernandes is the best signing of the post-Ferguson era. He’s the most important signing United have made since Robin van Persie and it surely won’t be long before the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona come knocking.

Man Utd must do everything in their power to ensure Bruno remains at Old Trafford for as long as possible.


10 worst signings

And now for the 10 worst signings…

10. Eric Bailly

It feels a bit harsh putting Eric Bailly in the ‘worst signings’ category, but the Ivorian defender has missed far too many games through injury over the past five seasons.

Since his arrival from Villarreal in 2016, Bailly has played 89 games – 56 of which have been Premier League appearances.

There’s no doubt that he’s a fine centre-back but United have every right to feel short-changed on their £30 million investment.


9. Marcos Rojo

Another defender who has only featured sporadically over the past few seasons, Marcos Rojo should have been sold a long time ago.

The Argentine wasn’t a particularly good fit for the Red Devils in the first place.


8. Matteo Darmian

Matteo Darmian was so disappointing. United fans thought they’d struck gold when they signed the Italy international from Torino. He could play at either right or left-back and loved to attack. Perfect, right?

Alas, sadly not.


7. Morgan Schneiderlin

It was a similar story with Morgan Schneiderlin, who impressed while playing in the holding midfield role with Southampton but failed to make the step up at Man Utd.

The French midfielder spent two seasons at Old Trafford before he was offloaded to Everton.


6. Memphis Depay

Memphis Depay possessed the talent but not the right attitude required to succeed at United.

Handed the club’s famous No. 7 shirt on arrival, the Dutch winger only managed to produce a couple of truly top-class performances.


5. Victor Valdes

Signed as a back-up to David de Gea, former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes only played two games for Man Utd and ended up falling out with Van Gaal in spectacular fashion.

The situation became so toxic that Valdes wasn’t allowed in the dressing room and couldn’t even train with the Under-21 or youth-team players.


4. Radamel Falcao

Radamel Falcao tried hard, bless him, but he was still a disastrous loan signing.

The Colombian bagged goals in 29 games but has since rejuvenated his career with AS Monaco and now Galatasaray.


3. Angel Di Maria

Make no mistake about it: signing Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid was a huge coup for Man Utd at the time. The Argentine was, and still is, a world-class midfielder.

But there was a big problem: he didn’t really want to be living in Manchester. And an attempted burglary at his property was the final straw for the South American and his young family.

It also didn’t help that he was playing under Van Gaal, who stifled all of his creativity.


2. Bastian Schweinsteiger

The powers that be at Old Trafford should have backed off when Bayern Munich agreed to sell Bastian Schweinsteiger for just £6.5 million.

The German midfielder was well past his best by the time he rocked up in Manchester and he only played 35 games for the Red Devils, scoring two goals.


1. Alexis Sanchez

But the worst signing – by a country mile – is obviously Alexis Sanchez.

One of Arsenal’s best players of the Premier League era couldn’t have performed much worse at the Theatre of Dreams.

That he was taking home anywhere in the region of £350,000 to £500,000-a-week made the situation all the more difficult to swallow for everyone connected with Man Utd.

It was a relief for all concerned when he joined Inter on a permanent transfer earlier this year.

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