Man United transfers: Who is the worst signing of the Ed Woodward era?

  • Tom Kelly
Manchester United director Ed Woodward in the stands at Old Trafford

With Ed Woodward due to leave his role at the end of 2021, GIVEMESPORT writers offer their verdicts on who has been Manchester United's worst signing during his reign at Old Trafford.

Following the controversy surrounding the creation of the European Super League, it was announced just days later that Woodward will be stepping down from his role as executive vice-chairman of United

It will mark the end of a spell that started after Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill both departed in 2013, and with Manchester United still waiting for their first title since then, it's safe to say Woodward has become synonymous with underachievement at Old Trafford.

That especially rings true in the transfer market. Woodward's first major signing of Marouane Fellani unfortunately set the tone for what's soon to be eight years of rather dubious spending, although there have been a handful of smart acquisitions along the way.

But which transfer flop is the pick of the bunch? GIVEMESPORT's Tom Kelly, Christy Malyan, Sam Brookes and Josh Cole have their say below..

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Tom Kelly 

"Let's get it straight, Radamel Falcao conned United. 

"United fans may have thought they were getting a clinical striker, who previously converted 70 goals in 91 games for Atletico Madrid. However, the Red Devils received a shadow of the front-man who once put fear into the heart of defences across Europe.

"The Colombian arrived on loan from AS Monaco for the 2014/15 season and it was reported that United spent a total of £9.8m in wages on him.

"What did United get in return? Four goals. 

"Woodward essentially paid £2.45m per goal in surely the worst piece of business during his time at the club."

Christy Malyan

"If you ever needed evidence of Woodward not having any kind of plan for his first summer transfer window, how about buying a player clearly lacking the technical ability to match Manchester United's style of play AFTER his release clause had expired and therefore paying an extra £4m for him?

"Fellaini got a rough ride of it at Old Trafford and unfortunately became the poster-boy of the failings of the post-Ferguson era. Ultimately that's not his fault and I don't think any United fan would say he didn't give it everything he had. 

"But this is a player who made a career from being a ludicrously awkward footballer - in both positive and negative senses of the phrase - signed to replace retiring playmaker legend Paul Scholes.

"Paul Scholes, remember him? The bloke widely considered to be one of the smartest and technically adept midfielders England has ever produced. Rather than bringing in a likeminded maestro, United waffled around the transfer market before eventually paying over the odds for a 6 foot 4 battering ram.

"Woodward couldn't have made a worse choice for his first major United signing."

Sam Brookes 

"Could not have gone much worse.

"When Alexis Sanchez arrived at Old Trafford in January 2018, it looked like United had pulled off a brilliant signing, especially given how well he had done at Arsenal.

"Only things didn’t turn out as expected. In his 45 appearances for the club, Sanchez scored just five goals during his disastrous 18-month spell in Manchester.

"What makes the Sanchez deal worse than any of Woodward’s other disastrous signings is the wage packet that the Chilean received. United were handing him £350,000-a-week, a simply ridiculous amount of money for a player who was moving into his thirties.

"Woodward has had some shockers over the years, but this one takes the biscuit." 

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Josh Cole

“Whilst United’s business during the Woodward era has seen the arrival of a host of quality players such as Bruno Fernandes and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, they do not always get their recruitment spot-on.

“Arguably the Red Devils’ worst signing in recent years, Angel Di Maria arrived at Old Trafford with the world at his feet after impressing during his time at Real Madrid.

“However, in a move which rather encapsulated Louis van Gaal’s time at the club, the Argentine only managed to show glimpses of his undoubted talent as he found the back of the net on just four occasions in 32 appearances.

“Having wasted £59.7m on the winger, the Red Devils opted to sell him to Paris Saint-Germain for a £15m loss.”

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