Ranking every Manchester United signing post-Ferguson from worst to least shit
Since Sir Alex Ferguson's departure, Manchester United have signed a lot of players
Since the end of the 2012/13 season, Manchester United have signed 29 players, including Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, that is. The youthful duo signed for United this summer but will be omitted from this worst-to-least-shit ranking as they have not yet been at the club long enough to have all the talent sucked out of them.
Looking back through the list of players United have brought in since Ferguson retired, it is astounding quite how much money they have wasted on talented players whom they managed to ruin, as well as players who are simply not very good.
Their scatter-gun approach to transfers in recent years, very much the low-fat Poundland version of Real Madrid's Galactico strategy, has seen them endure a continual slide to become the sixth best team in the country (for now).
Here is the definitive ranking of post-Ferguson Manchester United signings, starting with the worst.
A blind man could have seen this transfer was not a good idea. He might have been free, but Sánchez was already on the decline and United now find themselves paying a 30-year-old substitute with a shit moustache approximately half a million pounds a week. Not even infinite Instagram posts of Atom and Humber could compensate for this disappointment.
Remember when Schneiderlin played for United? Just after he'd been touted as one of the best defensive midfielders in the league and both Arsenal and Tottenham were pursuing him? It seems like a long time ago now. In that time he has been dropped by Louis van Gaal and José Mourinho and now struggles to get minutes at Everton. £25million well and truly down the drain. He's still gorgeous though. I mean, look at those eyes.
More on the other two in this photo shortly.
Yet another big name signing that was doomed from the very start. Firstly, United already had two ageing strikers in Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie at the time. Then there's the fact that Falcao had just come back from a horrific knee injury and thus lost most of his pace and confidence in front of goal. But still, he was Radamel Falcao and had huge marketability in South America, which was all Ed Woodward needed to hear.
Interestingly, the Colombian has managed to rediscover some form since leaving Old Trafford, helping AS Monaco to a Ligue 1 title in 2017, the same year that he tore through Pep Guardiola's Manchester City at the Etihad. This phenomenon of players becoming good again after leaving United will become something of a theme throughout this piece, I imagine.
When Bastian Schweinsteiger signed for Manchester United, Ed Woodward said that when opponents saw his name on the team sheet, it would send shivers down the spine. Ed. The year is not 2010. And alas, it did not. In fact, the German captain was so out of his depth in the Premier League that Santi Cazorla 'treated him like a dog' - Gary Neville's words, not mine.
Darmian enjoyed a half-decent debut against Tottenham. And that probably remains his best performance in a United shirt. Somehow, he is still there, although I doubt that will be the case come the end of the transfer window.
Angel Di Maria
I suspect many of you expected Di Maria to be at the very bottom of this list, but it simply felt too harsh. The move did not work out, but he was very much a victim of circumstance. Despite the shitshow he walked into, the Argentine still managed to bag 10 assists and retained his resale value. So, while very disappointing, it was not as catastrophic as many would have you believe. He also scored that lob against Leicester.
It's only been a year, sure, but he looks pretty dreadful. What does he actually do? Nobody knows.
Despite much fanfare, Memphis fell victim to the curse of the number seven shirt and was let go after a disappointing 18 months at Old Trafford. He has kicked on since leaving though, scoring 39 goals in two and a half seasons at Lyon. Funny, that.
A MIDFIELDER. AN ACTUAL DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER. Oh, what's that? He's actually not very good any more and that's why Chelsea let him go to a direct rival?
Filled a hole in defence and put together a somewhat competent partnership with Phil Jones for a brief period, but remains best known for his two-footed lunges and inability to make toast.
Yet another signing that Manchester United brought in about four years too late. Mkhitaryan never got going at Old Trafford, barring that offside scorpion kick. Still, he wasn't as bad as his replacement.
Given the obstacles Shaw has had to overcome during his time as a Manchester United player, he's actually done quite well. Constantly being dug out in public by your manager after your return from a traumatic injury would destroy most of us, but Shaw kept fighting and discovered some semblance of form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Still, he has not filled Patrice Evra's chicken licking boots as many had hoped.
N/A. Didn't play long enough.
Showed glimpses of brilliance, and lunacy, but a lack of trust from managers has seen him drop down the pecking order.
Took a while to get into the team last season and didn't disgrace himself when he got his chance, he also has a bit of potential to grow and improve. That's literally all it takes to make the top 11 places on this list.
Manchester United never should have signed Fellaini; his unorthodox talents are not compatible with what the club wants to be. But that is not his fault. He didn't ask to be a huge, gangly, giant. That's just how he is, and he made a fucking good career out of it. Facing tirades of criticism and mockery, the Belgian still got on the end of a lot of Ashley Young crosses at the back post, and for that he takes 10th place.
Lindelof was written off pretty quickly by many who considered him to be too lightweight, not cut out for the hustle and bustle of the Premier League, not ready to come up against the likes of *checks notes*... Jordan Ayew. Slowly but surely, the Swede has settled at Old Trafford and is now one of the first names on the team sheet. Damning praise.
Too often, Lukaku is made out to be an absolute donkey. 42 goals in 96 matches over two seasons would disagree. He seems to have fallen victim to the skewed standards expected of strikers thanks to the superhuman numbers posted by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. However, the club seem ready to offload the £80m signing after years, so you can't really make a case for him being a good piece of business, can you? Sorry Rom.
Filled a gaping hole in midfield and consistently put in 7/10 performances with occasional moments of elite shithousery, most notably getting Steven Gerrard sent off after 38 seconds in his final match against United.
There's a myriad of factors that have affected Pogba's return to Old Trafford, the most significant of which was the fact he was being managed by José Mourinho. A very good player, who has enjoyed some very good moments at United, but still underwhelming at the end of the day.
As the chant goes, the English press said he had no chance when he signed for £58m (inc. add-ons) in the summer of 2015. But a debut goal against Liverpool reminiscent of peak Thierry Henry quickly had United fans jittery with excitement at the potential of their new teenage forward. Once again, a fractious relationship with Mourinho caused stagnation in his development and he has found himself in and out of the team during the past couple of years. Still, he has a very high ceiling and more than enough time to reach it.
Wonderful left peg on him, Daley. Lovely hair too. Shame Mourinho only wanted absolute units in defence. He would later return to Ajax and go onto reach the Champions League semi-final while United fell apart at the end of the season.
The best second choice goalkeeper in the Premier League.
David Moyes' greatest contribution to the club was bringing in Juan Mata after he fell out of favour at Chelsea. The charming little Spaniard has scored a lot of important goals during his time at the club, despite having to deal with Mourinho's (are we noticing a theme here?) distrust of smaller players and being moved from the wing to the centre and back to the wing under different managers. Pound for pound, he's United's second best signing of the past six years.
Say what you want about Zlatan Ibrahimović. Say that a 37-year-old man shouldn't be so childish as to refer to himself in the third person and call himself a God, or compare himself to a lion, or have a ponytail. Say that if you must, because it's true. But ultimately, he came in for free, scored a lot of goals for a year as United searched for a longer term replacement, and left. He did what was asked of him, even if his move to England meant his record of winning a league title in every country he's played in came to an end.
So there we are. It's Ibrahimović who takes the crown of best post-Ferguson signing, which says a lot more about United's recruitment than his performances in the famous red shirt.