Manchester United’s 10 Most Expensive Signings Of All Time
Not many clubs have spent more money than Manchester United in the Premier League era.
But having deep pockets does not necessarily mean you’d win the titles. Man Utd are one of the best examples.
Throughout the years, the Red Devils have been able to afford many of the world’s most prominent names. Still, not many have lived up to the billing at Old Trafford.
During Sir Alex Ferguson’s trophy-laden era, so many world-class players plied their trade at Man Utd, turning the Theatre of Dreams into one of the most popular destinations on the planet.
But since Ferguson left the helm in 2013, an insane amount of money has been splurged on underperforming big guns in a helpless attempt to preserve the club’s household status in world football.
Below are the ten most expensive Manchester United signings of all time.
- Paul Pogba (Juventus, 2016) – €105m
- Antony (Ajax, 2022) – €95m
- Harry Maguire (Leicester City, 2019) – €87m
- Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund, 2021) – €85m
- Romelu Lukaku (Everton, 2017) – €84.7m
- Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid, 2014) – €75m
- Casemiro (Real Madrid, 2022) – €70.65m
- Bruno Fernandes (Sporting Lisbon, 2020) – €63m
- Anthony Martial (Monaco, 2015) – €60m
- Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk, 2018) – €59m
Now, let’s see how Man Utd’s ten most expensive signings ever panned out.
While enjoying a rise to stardom at Shakhtar Donetsk, Fred earned a reputation as one of the best ball-winning midfielders in Europe, making the Red Devils pay the Ukrainians a hefty €59m transfer fee in 2018.
But the 29-year-old’s patchy form at the Theatre of Dreams has brought him under heavy scrutiny, even though he continues to impress for Brazil’s national team.
Often accused of being too sloppy in possession, Fred occasionally bamboozles United fans with some spectacular performance, yet problems with inconsistency remain an issue.
#9 Anthony Martial
On a good day, Anthony Martial can be a thorn in any defence’s side, with his tricky feet, pace and lethal scoring instincts making him a menace for the opposition defenders.
Having joined Man Utd as a winger from Monaco in 2015, the 26-year-old has often shifted positions alongside the frontline. His versatility allows him to fill a multitude of roles in the attacking third.
However, like many other United forwards in the post-Ferguson era, Martial has struggled to deliver week in, week out before eventually falling out of favour and joining Sevilla on a short-term loan last term.
He returned to the club this summer, hoping to prove his doubters wrong.
#8 Bruno Fernandes
Bruno Fernandes is by far the best piece of deal pulled off by Man Utd in the past few years. Signed from Sporting Lisbon in January 2020, the Portuguese ace enjoyed a phenomenal start to his Premier League career.
He single-handedly transformed an uneventful attacking crew into a potent force, racking up goals and assists almost for fun during his early days at Old Trafford.
Unfortunately, his form has taken the downwards curve as his time in Manchester progressed, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to the club last summer derailing his role in the team even further.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. The high-profile arrival of Casemiro from Real Madrid broke a long-serving midfield trio at Santiago Bernabeu.
Playings alongside Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, the Brazilian deep-lying midfielder won everything there was to win with Los Blancos, including five Champions League titles.
He was an instrumental figure in all five of Madrid’s continental triumphs over the past decade and should instill his winning mentality into this new-look Man Utd side.
#6 Angel Di Maria
Who would have thought that after going from strength to strength in Madrid, Angel Di Maria would be such a disappointment in the Premier League?
Man Utd paid Los Blancos a then-British record transfer fee of €75m to take the Argentine forward away from La Liga in 2014.
Di Maria was voted Manchester United’s Player of the Month in September 2014 after clocking up two goals and two assists in his first four appearances for the club.
But at the end of the season, he left the Red Devils to join PSG, with the Daily Telegraph naming him the worst signing of the 2014/15 campaign.
#5 Romelu Lukaku
Another overpaid underachiever. Romelu Lukaku was a goalscoring machine at Everton and one of the fiercest No.9s in the Premier League before joining Man Utd in a blockbuster €84.7m deal in 2017.
Often played out of position under Jose Mourinho, the Belgian star endured a thoroughly underwhelming spell at Old Trafford, frequently being subjected to mockery from home and hostile fans.
Loose touches, poor ball control and lackustre finishing turned him into a scapegoat at United, forcing him to leave the club for Inter Milan in 2019 to reignite his career.
#4 Jadon Sancho
It took Man Utd almost two years of unrelenting efforts to convince Borussia Dortmund to sell them prodigious forward Jadon Sancho in another mega-money deal.
The long-running transfer saga finally came to a close in 2021 as the Red Devils broke the bank to acquire the services of one of the hottest English talents.
It has turned out that the task of picking Bundesliga defences apart is not as challenging as doing it in the Premier League. He has yet to find his feet at Old Trafford despite being here for over a year.
#3 Harry Maguire
Opinions are still extremely divided when it comes to Harry Maguire. While some see him as the least of Man Utd’s problems, others believe he represents everything wrong that’s going on at the club these days.
When the Red Devils poured €87m into Leicester City’s coffers, a world-record amount for a defender, back in 2019, they must have thought a new Nemanja Vidic was coming to town.
Instead, Maguire’s comic defensive howlers and poor giveaways have often made headlines at the expense of his rare moments of brilliance. But he’s still the captain.
Man Utd broke the bank to land one of Erik ten Hag’s top targets, Antony, from Ajax in the final days of summer 2022 for a staggering €95m.
The 22-year-old Brazilian winger starred in Amsterdam during the Dutchman’s trophy-laden managerial stint at the Johan Cruyff Arena, growing into one of the hottest prospects in world football.
After racking up 24 goals and 22 assists from 82 competitive appearances for Ajax, Antony is now bracing himself for a new adventure in the Premier League.
#1 Paul Pogba
The bizarre case of Paul Pogba should serve as a lesson for the future. Before deciding to make someone your most expensive signing of all time, better make sure to check his interest in the game first.
At Juventus, the Frenchman was a midfield monster. Goals, assists, delightful playmaking moments and tactical awareness turned him into an elite midfielder.
Yet, at Man Utd, Pogba was not a shadow of a player that used to tear Serie A backlines apart and take France to World Cup glory in 2018.
He was United’s most talented outfield player, but his lackadaisical attitude overshadowed his on-field performances.
Juventus welcomed him back this summer on a free transfer.
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