5 players who did not deserve to play for Manchester United

Beijing Hyundai v Manchester United
Beijing Hyundai v Manchester United
Aditya Duse

Manchester United are among the biggest clubs in the world and arguably one of the most successful over the past 30 years. Particularly during the tenure of Sir Alex Ferguson, the club became famed for stringing together various successful squads that brought several trophies to Old Trafford.

Ferguson was an expert at securing brilliant signings, with him making some of the most successful transfers of all time. The likes of Roy Keane, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Cristiano Ronaldo have earned tremendous success at Old Trafford.

Manchester United have also made some bizarre signings

Signing good players who turn out to be bad transfers is a common theme and can happen to any club. But signing players who do not even possess the quality to play at such a high level is a bigger blunder.

United had the likes of Angel Di Maria, Memphis Depay and Radamel Falcao who were good players but could not perform at Old Trafford. But the Red Devils also made some signings who did not even deserve to don the red jersey in the first place.

Here we take a look at five such players who did not deserve to play for Manchester United:

#5 David Bellion

David Bellion of Manchester United
David Bellion of Manchester United

David Bellion was arguably Sunderland's best player the year before he moved to Manchester United. However, this was for a Sunderland team that had picked up one point after the halfway point of the season.

Bellion had scored only one goal at the Stadium of Light before Manchester United bizarrely came calling in for the Frenchman in 2003. Although Bellion had technically left on a free transfer, the Black Cats lodged a complaint that they were owed compensation for the player. In the end an out of court settlement of £2 million was struck between the two sides.

However, Bellion was never able to fully establish himself in Manchester United's star-studded team. After just eight goals in 40 appearances, the forward was shipped out on loan to West Ham. He later returned to his native country of France, initially joining Nice on loan before making a permanent move the following summer.

Bellion had a decent time in France, even winning the French league with Bordeaux in 2008-09. But the forward never possessed the quality to don the red jersey in Manchester and is definitely one of the worst signings made by the Red Devils.

Manchester United flop David Bellion has a new job. Which is probably for the best...

#4 Bebe

Ajax Cape Town v Manchester United - Pre-season Friendly
Ajax Cape Town v Manchester United - Pre-season Friendly

Sir Alex Ferguson had never seen Bebe play a single game before sanctioning the move as he trusted the advice of his then assistant manager Carlos Queiroz. That proved to be a costly mistake.

The forward arrived from Vitoria Guimaraes for around £8 million in 2010. Manchester United could have signed him on a free transfer but instead waited for him to join Vitoria before adding him to their squad during the same transfer window.

Bebe had a torrid time at Manchester United and played just seven games during his four years at the club. During the time, the majority of his Manchester United career was spent on loan at clubs like Besiktas, Rio Ave and Pacos de Ferreira.

10 years ago today, Sir Alex Ferguson broke his own rule by signing a player he'd never watched.Bebe went on to play just seven games in four years as a Manchester United player.

His disastrous outing with the Red Devils finally came to an end in 2014, when he was sold to Benfica for around £3 million.

Bebe is now currently plying his trade in La Liga with Rayo Vallecano, having joined the club permanently in 2018.

#3 William Prunier

Manchester United vs Queens Park Rangers
Manchester United vs Queens Park Rangers

William Prunier's time on the field for Manchester United was strange, considering he was playing in the Premier League despite only being on trial at the club.

Prunier was pretty eager to have the privilege of playing in the red shirt, so much so that he even bought his way out of his contract with former club Bordeaux.

Hoping to follow in the footsteps of esteemed countryman Eric Cantona, Prunier got off to a good start, providing an assist against QPR in his debut for the club. He was originally intended to play only in reserve matches, but an injury crisis forced him into league action once more, against Spurs, which Manchester United lost 4-1.

Prunier was made the scapegoat for the defeat and never played for the Red Devils ever again, with Sir Alex Ferguson unwilling to give the French defender a new contract.

The centre-back returned to his former club Bordeaux but was immediately sold to Montpellier in the summer of 1996. However, he had a disappointing spell with the side which was followed by similar spells at Napoli and Toulouse, before Prunier finally retired in Qatar in 2004.

Happy 52nd birthday, William Prunier. Was the French defender Sir Alex’s worst signing as manager of Manchester United? #mufc

#2 Massimo Taibi

Massimo Taibi of Manchester United
Massimo Taibi of Manchester United

Following the departure of Peter Schmeichel in 1999, Manchester United embarked on a frantic search for a replacement for the legendary Dane. And the first keeper they ended up with was Italian Massimo Taibi.

He made his debut against Liverpool in September 1999, while his last ever appearance for the club came just a month later, in a 5-0 defeat to Chelsea on October 3rd.

Taibi was never convincing in between the sticks for the Red Devils and managed to make a grand total of just four appearances conceding 11 goals in the process. He later departed to join Reggina in 2000.

The Italian will not be remembered as the apparent heir to Schmeichel, but for his blunder that allowed Matt le Tissier to score back in 1999.

Massimo Taibi. Cost Manchester United £4.5m in 1999. Will always be remembered for 'that' Matt Le Tissier shot.

#1 Dong Fangzhuo

Beijing Hyundai v Manchester United
Beijing Hyundai v Manchester United

There was little logic behind signing Dong Fangzhuo, with a major aspect of his arrival relating to Manchester United's attempt to expand the club's brand. Dong was hardly prolific, even in the Chinese league, which was yet to be graced by big-money signings.

Signed in 2004, Fangzhuo initially failed to gain a work permit and was loaned out to Belgian side Royal Antwerp where he had a decent spell up top.

The Chinese centre-forward returned to Manchester United in 2007, but after making just three appearances that season, he returned to China with his former club DL Shide.

The forward followed his United stint with failed attempts to bounce back in China, Poland and Portugal before finally hanging up his boots in 2016.

Dong will perhaps be best remembered in Europe when he was handed his United debut away to Jose Mourinho's Chelsea in 2007. It was purely so that he, along with fellow fringe players Kieran Lee and Chris Eagles, would be given a guard of honor by the Blues' first team.

Never forget when Sir Alex Ferguson sent out United's reserves for the guard of honour at Stamford Bridge.John Terry clapping Dong Fangzhuo. 👏@TheUnitedLink | @ManUtd

Dong reportedly had plastic surgery after retiring from the game, allegedly so that he wouldn't be mocked for his Manchester United spell.

Edited by Nived Zenith


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