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5 World-class but ineffective signings for Manchester United

Manchester United FC v SC Braga - UEFA Champions League
Manchester United FC v SC Braga - UEFA Champions League
Yash Vijay

The transfer season is going on and the rumors have started coming in for all the big name signings. Being associated to baseless transfer rumors is one such cursed luck for Manchester United.

They get connected to each and every unsettled player at any club around the globe. Playing for Manchester United is considered to be a dream come true by many players.

There have been many players who have been given the chance to play for United but they have wasted this 'once in a lifetime' opportunity with their lackluster performances, recurring injuries or maybe personal circumstances.

Here is a list of few world class players who were great at other clubs (or still doing great) but just could not perform in accordance to their lofty standards during their time while Manchester United.


#5. Juan Sebastian Veron

Veron Press Conf X
Juan Sebastian Veron scored 11 goals in 82 games during his 2 years at United
Sir Alex Ferguson blasted the media persons who were criticising Veron, in his own style:
"On you go. I'm no fu****g talking to you. He's a fu****g great player. You are fu****g idiots."

Such was the buzz of Veron's arrival at the Theatre of Dreams.

Veron was a highly talented superstar who joined United from Lazio. Named as the next big thing in football, he was introduced to a very well established United midfield at the time. But he never really could adapt to the pace of premier league and was sold of to Chelsea two years later.

Sir Alex later on went on to tell his side of Veron's failure in his autobiography stating that the player never really made an effort with the other players, was difficult to manage because of his flamboyant attitude and the fact that he refused to learn English.

He was such a talented acquisition, that had it worked, it would have allowed United to reach levels which they were only able to achieve 5-6 years later with Ronaldo.

#4 Anderson

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Anderson was famous for his antics off the pitch rather than on it

Anderson was highly regarded by Sir Alex Ferguson as one of the most talented and inspiring young midfielders coming through the ranks. He was signed for £19mn from Porto.

"Anderson has been absolutely superb. The boy has definitely got something special. There was an urgency to get him once we'd scouted him, even though he'd broken his leg and had been out for four or five months" is what Sir Alex said about him when Anderson was asked to replace an injured Paul Scholes in the midfield in 2007."

But, Anderson's excessive weight due to irregular eating habits and inability to grasp the English language and a string of average performances would never have made him an obvious choice under LVG.

And hence was offloaded by United through a free transfer in 2015. He has then ended up playing in his home country for Internacional and has been transferred to Adana Demirspor on July 30, 2018.

#3 Memphis Depay

Wayne Rooney Testimonial: Manchester United v Everton
He was nicknamed the Tank by many because of his bulky and powerful physique

One of the better signings of United under Louis van Gaal, Memphis (didn't want 'Depay' to be associated with him due to his history with his father) had been assured of a very promising career at United.

His physique was well appreciated by the everyone around him and it seemed like LVG had played a master stroke by signing him from PSV in 2015 for £25 million. He had all the skills in his armory, blinding pace and world class technique.

His poor performances were what caused his doom at United, he fell out of favour with LVG very soon and even though came on as a substitute in many matches and provided those super sub performances, he never really caught the manager's attention on the pitch.

He was offloaded to Lyon in January 2017 by Jose with a buy back clause, but that, it seems was just wishful thinking on United's behalf as he has yet to prove himself over there as well.

#2 Owen Hargreaves

Manchester United v Arsenal - Premier League
Owen Hargreaves(in front of Ronaldo) is fondly remembered for his free kick vs. Arsenal

Sir Alex signed him from FC Barcelona for £17m in 2007 even though he had spent most of the season on bench due to a fractured leg.

His first season proved that Ferguson had made a good move due to his decent performances but the plethora of injuries to Owen soon turned out to be his nemesis.

Succession of injuries led him to have operations on both his knees and this made him miss out majority of the matches during his time at Manchester United. He failed to impress during his three comeback attempts and was never really in favor during the later stages of his career at United.

His dismal fitness records forced United to release him and he later went on to join City before retiring at the age of 31 due to prolonged injuries.

He is fondly remembered for the match winning free kick against Arsenal.

#1 Angel Di Maria

Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League
Angel Di Maria was already a superstar when he signed for United

Considered the best player signed by LVG, but not the best signing. Di Maria came from Real Madrid when he had already proven his mettle at the top level of football and was considered as the player behind whom United would achieve greater successes.

United smashed the British transfer record for him and everything looked bright from there on along with Falcao, Memphis, Schneiderlin and others. However this story was short lived due to many reasons.

LVG's playing style never really suited Di Maria's and this made him confined to a very concrete style of play where none of Angel's tricks and skills could work. This conservative approach to football did not agree with Di Maria.

And to add to that, off field incidents like the burglary at his place, never really allowed him to get settled in Manchester. It was in the latter half of his first season were he was restricted to the bench most of the time, that it was visible that Di Maria was not here to stay.

And it was confirmed that the tensions between the Gaffa (LVG) and Di Maria were growing immensely when Di Maria failed to join the United squad on a pre season tour and eventually moved to PSG two weeks later.

Another "what could have been" story of United and a superstar.


Agree with our list? Disagree? Tell us in the comments below!

Edited by Abhinav Munshi

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