Manchester United might have slightly regressed ever since the retirement of iconic coach Sir Alex Ferguson, but their brand name has kept on improving and allowed them to rope in some of the best soccer players in the world. It’s because of their inflow of money and financial strength which has allowed the Red Devils to make some big-money signings over the past few years, to keep on improving their squad. United has made many signings over the past few seasons, and while some of them have worked wonders, others weren't that promising.
United has spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the years to make some game-changing signings, but not all of them proved to be fruitful for them. There have been some clever signings who have contributed to the success of the club and lead them to many victories over the years, as well as helping improve their brand image as well. But there have also been some players, who despite their impressive talents, just couldn’t manage to shine through for United and ended up disappointing everyone. Some of these flop signings just couldn’t adapt to the environment at United and ended up being very underwhelming during their years at the club.
There have been a few signings which helped strengthen the core of United’s squad and helped them attain a lot of success in recent years, while some of the poor signings created further problems for them. So let’s look at the 10 Best Manchester United signings in recent years and the 10 worst signings.
20 Worst: Marcos Rojo
Marcos Rojo was brought in to add some stability in Manchester United’s defense back in 2014 but has ended up creating bigger problems for them time and again. Rojo has been a very overly-aggressive kind of defender for United, who can be great on his day, but his mistake-prone nature has cost the Red Devils on many occasions. He’s makes too many unecessary fouls and doesn’t have the composure of a great center-back, as he’s been extremely inconsistent for United. Rojo has gone onto making more than 80 appearances for the Red Devils over the years but has fallen to the back of the line after some poor performances last season which proved how bad of a signing he was.
19 Best: Sergio Romero
Sergio Romero always knew that he’d end up being a backup goalkeeper for Manchester United, with the amazing David De Gea making the goalkeeper position his own at Old Trafford. But that hasn’t deterred him from giving his absolute best for the Red Devils and despite only making 20+ appearances and starting in Cup games, Romero has been consistently excellent in between the posts for United. He had the reputation of being an erroneous goalkeeper but has changed that with some stunning performances for United. Not many fans could figure out why he stuck with United as their backup keeper, but with his terrific hands in “smaller games”, the Argentine has been one of the better signings United have made in recent seasons.
18 Worst: Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Henrikh Mkhitaryan amazing work at Borussia Dortmund made Manchester United sign him up a few years ago when they hoped he would be the creative link they had been missing for a long time. But Mkhitaryan failed to impress under Jose Mourinho’s system and after trying to adapt to the new conditions, he ended up failing to impress. Mkhitaryan scored about 12 goals and gave 10+ assists in his 70+ appearances for the Red Devils and was extremely underwhelming and lacking in creativity in most games. He seemed to have lost that flair he had in him at Dortmund and following an extremely disappointing stint, Mkhitaryan was shipped off to Arsenal after only 1 and a half seasons with United.
17 Best: Eric Bailly
Eric Bailly might be a rather unpredictable defender for United, but he’s actually ended up being a decent signing who has improved the defensive core of the Red Devils over the past few seasons. Bailly was coincidentally the first signing made by Jose Mourinho at United and despite his occasional scuffles, Bailly has been someone who has given some strong performances for the Red Devils. Bailly’s hard-hitting tackling and commanding nature in defense has really helped United and in 41 PL appearances, he’s helped them keep 19 clean sheets. Bailly has always given his 100% for United and despite his over-aggressiveness at times, he’s still one of the better defensive signings made by the Red Devils since Sir Alex retired.
16 Worst: Bastian Schweinsteiger
Bastian Schweinsteiger’s signing for Manchester United was a dream come true for many, as Bastion -who seemed destined to spent his whole career at Bayern Munich- surprised many with the move. Schweinsteiger’s might have been a lovely character who won over many United fans, but he couldn’t really convince with his game-play in the field. He found it difficult to adapt to the pace and physical nature of the Premier League and couldn’t operate as a midfield general for United. It was quite obvious that his age was playing a factor in his poor showing and United had signed a player who was well past his best. Schweinsteiger only made 20 or so appearances for United and ended up being an underwhelming signing for them.
15 Best: Ander Herrera
Ever since signing for Manchester United in 2014, Ander Herrera has become a huge fan favorite because of his passion for the club and how much he devotes for the success of United. Herrera has been a really industrial midfielder for United over the years, who has slotted in wherever required to benefit them and has always given his 100% for the Red Devils. Herrera has made more than a 100 appearances for the Red Devils over the past few seasons and has helped them control the midfield because of his energetic presence. Herrera has been especially amazing in big games, with his emphatic performances on major occasions proving how much of a brilliant signing the Spaniard has been for United.
14 Worst: Daley Blind
Daley Blind was brought in by United because of his versatility, as he showed the ability to operate in midfield and defense equally well during his time at Ajax. Blind did have some bright moments at United, but the pressure on him to deliver under different roles got to him after a point of time. Despite making over a 100 appearances for United, Blind had some really terrible games and wasn’t convincing in his defensive duties at all. He struggled to impose himself as a center-back and left-back, with his poor pace and strength being the bane of him. Blind was recently sold back to Ajax and ended up going back as a failed signing for the Red Devils.
13 Best: Luke Shaw
Luke Shaw might have suffered a few setbacks in his Manchester United career due to a serious injury, but things look to be on the up for him now. Despite being criticized in the past few years for his lack of fitness and poor performances for United, Shaw has not lost motivation and is finally proving his worth at United this season. He's been amazing for them, scoring and assisting a goal for them in this campaign and being a terrorizing force down the left. Shaw has made very limited appearances for United so far, but seems to have a bright future ahead of him and has ended up being a very clever signing made by United.
12 Worst: Victor Lindelof
Victor Lindelof was a relatively unknown signing made by Manchester United last season, who snapped up the Swede for over $35 million to try and further strengthen their defensive unit last season. But Lindelof hasn’t been able to repay the faith put in him by Jose Mourinho and Manchester United, with his inability to adapting to the conditions of the Premier League really hurting them. Lindelof’s error-prone nature has landed United in trouble too many times, as he looks really shaky whenever against a powerful striker. The Swede has made just above 20 appearances for United so far, but seeing as how disappointing he’s been on too many occasions, Lindelof has turned out to be a flop signing for the Red Devils.
11 Best: Anthony Martial
Anthony Martial might be undergoing a bit of a rough patch at Manchester United, but nobody can deny the amount of talent the French winger has in him. Martial dazzled up Old Trafford after signing with United a few years ago and was absolutely amazing in his first season, scoring 11 goals in 31 appearances. Martial has since adjusted himself into the role of a left-winger and can be terrorizing because of his pace and skill on the ball. He might enjoy some off-form on occasions, but Martial’s talent cannot be denied and it’s his fantastic potential and ability to get even better in the near future which makes him a top signing for United.
10 Worst: Angel Di Maria
Angel Di Maria looked like the “marquee signing” which Manchester United needed for a long time when he was signed for a record fee of over $70 million to try and light up Old Trafford. Di Maria looked to be in menacing form initially, as he terrorized defenses with his trickery and created a lot of glorious moments for United, but he failed to maintain the form. After a personal incident, Di Maria’s form dropped badly and he ended up only scoring 3 and assisting 10 in his only season at United. Di Maria would move to Paris-Saint Germain the next season after moving to United and ended up being a horrible signing who didn’t show the passion to succeed for United.
9 Best: Juan Mata
Juan Mata was brought in by United at a moment of crisis and not only did he help stabilize the sinking ship back in 2014, but he’s been a very trust-worthy attacker for United over the years. Mata is probably one of the most creative stars at United right now and has dazzled fans with his fantastic ability on the ball. Having made more than a 100 appearances for United, Mata has scored over 30 goals and assisted 25+ goals and played a big part in their success over the years. The Spaniard has remained a delight to watch because of his amazing creativity and elegant nature and has to be one of the best signings made by United in recent years.
8 Worst: Morgan Schneiderlin
Morgan Schneiderlin’s impressive work at Southampton in the Premier League impressed Manchester United enough to sign the midfielder, who vowed to add steel to United’s crumbly midfield. Schneiderlin was known to be a hard-hitting midfielder who had the knack of winning back the ball in midfield and starting counter-attacks, but he failed to do that at United. Schneiderlin probably crumbled under the pressure of playing at a club like United and gave some really poor performances for the Red Devils. He struggled to control the midfield and constantly made errors which caused problems for United, with Schneiderlin’s torrid stint at United ending after he moved to Everton, after which he labeled as another flop signing for the Red Devils.
7 Best: Nemanja Matic
Nemanja Matic has turned out to be the defensive general which Manchester United needed, as he’s adapted to life at United perfectly. Matic has played his role as a defensive midfielder perfectly at United, where he makes sure their opponents can’t control the game. Matic’s experience and ability on the ball make him a reliable midfielder for United, as he averaged almost 73 passes per game in the 36 appearances he made last season in the Premier League. Matic has been a commanding figure in midfield who is always on the lookout to disrupt the opponents play and win back the ball, as his stunning impact on United’s game proving him to be one of United’s best acquisitions in recent years.
6 Worst: Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez’s signing brought a lot of excitement towards Manchester United’s fans, who were excited at having the fantastic Chilean attacker as their new #7 because of the great things he had done at Arsenal. Sanchez was swapped with Henrikh Mkhitaryan but didn’t prove to be any better than him. Sanchez has been very underwhelming at United, where he’s struggled to impose himself and hasn’t been able to adapt to their style and only scored 2 goals in 15 appearances. He’s been wasteful in front of goal and frustrated fans by trying too much at times and failing badly and even though he has time to redeem himself, Sanchez’s poor form makes him one of United’s worst signings in recent years right now.
5 Best: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan Ibrahimovic brought a lot of his charm and winning mentality to Manchester United after he was snapped up for a free deal by the Red Devils. Despite being questioned by many because of his age, Ibrahimovic proved that he still got it in his debut season at United where he scored 25+ goals in all competitions. Ibhramovic’s amazing goal-scoring ability and work up-front really benefitted United, as he inspired them to win the Carling Cup and helped them win the UEFA Europa League as well. Zlatan wasn’t able to play properly beyond that one season due to an injury, but the amazing moments he produced in that majestic season itself makes him one of United’s best buys in recent years.
4 Worst: Radamel Falcao
Radamel Falcao looked like the answer to all Manchester United’s goalscoring problems back in 2014, when he secured a deadline-day loan move to the club. Falcao had earned the reputation of being a deadly goal-scorer in his term at Atletico Madrid and FC Porto, but constant injuries seemed to have taken away much of his ability. Falcao had a really disappoint tenure at United, as he made 26 appearances in the Premier League, he only managed to score 4 goals and provide 4 assists. The Colombian looked horribly lacking in attack and seemed to have lost that clinical goal-scoring edge to himself, with Falcao’s failed one year-stint at United making him a terrible signing for the Red Devils.
3 Best: Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba has been a highly talked about figure at Manchester United ever since sealing a sensational return to the club for more than $100 million in 2016. The French midfielder brought a lot of charm and mainstream popularity with them and despite all the talk about him underperforming at United, Pogba is still one of United’s most effective buys in recent years. He’s helped bring back that “wow” factor for United and despite some bad performances, Pogba’s game has dazzled fans over the years. Pogba has scored 15+ and assisted a similar number of goals in his seasons with United, but that attacking edge he brings has benefitted the Red Devils and made him one of their best signings in recent seasons.
2 Worst: Memphis Depay
Memphis Depay’s fantastic work at Dutch club PSV Eindhoven impressed Manchester United to the point where they made him their #7 in 2015 and signed him up for $30+ million. Depay was known for his amazing trickery and goal-scoring ability, but all that seemed to fade away after he joined United. Depay couldn’t perform because of all that pressure. He was poor in front of goal and couldn’t create much for United either, only scoring a handful of goals in 40+ appearances for the Red Devils. Depay was sold off after two horrible seasons with United, in which he proved to be one of United’s worst acquisitions in recent years.
1 Best: Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku’s signature for Manchester United surprised many as the fans didn’t expect the former Chelsea striker to arrive at United, that too for a fee close to almost $100 million! It was Lukaku’s fantastic goal-scoring record in the Premier League which made the Red Devils sign him up and he hasn’t given them a reason to regret that decision, as Lukaku has been absolutely excellent up front for them. He scored 26 goals in his debut season for United and has already scored three goals in four games so far this season. Lukaku is a complete striker who’ll continue to deliver for United because of his incredible goal-scoring ability and is turning out to be their best signing in years.