Manchester United Signings That Flopped In The Last Decade


Premier league clubs are known for signing players and these players either turn to be successful or flops. Here we look at the biggest Manchester United flops of the decade

Shinji Kagawa

Kagawa didn't have the desired impact at Old Trafford. United fans were right to be excited by the arrival of Kagawa in the summer of 2012.

The Japanese playmaker had scored 13 times and registered eight assists in 31 Bundesliga appearances for Borussia Dortmund the season before. On 5 June 2012, it was announced by Manchester United that the club had reached an agreement with Borussia Dortmund and Kagawa for his transfer, a deal which made him the first Japanese player to join the club. The fee was reported to be an initial £12 million, with a further £5 million in possible add-ons. The transfer was completed on 22 June after Kagawa passed his medical at Manchester United and received his UK work permit. On 3 July, it was revealed that Kagawa would wear the number 26 shirt for United. Kagawa spoke about his former club, Borussia Dortmund, saying, "I will carry this club, their great fans, and the whole city in my heart forever and will follow their results with great interest.

Stuck out wide rather than being played through the middle, Kagawa struggled to influence games as he had in Germany and lost his way at United.

Morgan Schneiderlin

Schneiderlin proved to be an costly error. Van Gaal needed an anchor to use at the base of his midfield, and in Schneiderlin it seemed he had been handed one of the best in that position in the Premier League. After much speculation during the summer, Schneiderlin signed for Manchester United in July 2015 for a fee in the region of £25 million. Upon signing for United, he said: "I am happy to be a Manchester United player. Once I learned that United were interested in signing me, it was a very easy decision to make. I have enjoyed seven very happy years with Southampton and it’s a club that will always be in my heart. But the chance to be part of this squad to help this great club be successful was too good to miss.

The Frenchman quickly fell out of favor, making just three Premier League appearances in his second season at United. Schneiderlin was never able to enforce himself at Old Trafford and left for Everton in January 2017.

Memphis Depay

Depay had initially been the focus of several bids by English side Arsenal, with club manager Arsène Wenger eventually going on to turn down a move for him altogether. In 2015, PSV confirmed that they had agreed a deal with Manchester United over Depay's transfer, subject to a medical. United manager Louis van Gaal said that he was "forced" into signing him early, due to interest from Paris Saint-Germain. Despite insistence from Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers that he had never been after Depay, PSV director Marcel Brands had stated that he had conversations with Liverpool over a possible signing. On 12 June 2015, United confirmed the signing of Depay, for a reported fee of £25 million on a four-year contract with the option to extend for a further year. He was unveiled as a Manchester United player at a press conference on 10 July 2015. This made him the fourth player to join United from PSV after Jaap Stam, Park Ji-sung and Ruud van Nistelrooy. Handed the famous number seven shirt, Depay had the confidence and swagger to be United’s next superstar. Or so it seemed at first.

But soon the Dutch winger was under scrutiny for not offering enough in the final third, and was eventually sold to Lyon in the summer of 2017, where he has since flourished.

Depay needed patience, but it never came.

Angel di Maria

Di Maria had bags of talent but flopped at United. In 2014, Di María signed a five-year deal with Manchester United for a transfer fee of £59.7 million, one of the most exclusive transfers of all time and the highest fee ever paid by a British club at the time. He inherited the number 7 shirt at United, which was formerly worn by club legends such as George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo. Di Maria, a key figure in Real Madrid’s Champions League-winning side of the season before, started well, notching two goals and two assists in his first four games for his new club but the Argentinian soon became unsettled in Manchester, and forced through a move to Paris Saint-Germain just a year later.

Alexis Sanchez

For many, this will go down as the worst signing in Premier League history, and that’s a high bar to clear.

Alexis Sanchez was the heart and soul of Arsenal for three-and-a-half years, so United must have thought they’d pulled off quite a coup by luring him to Old Trafford in January 2018, albeit on massive wages. It was announced that Sánchez had completed a transfer to Manchester United, in a swap deal that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan move the opposite way. Sánchez was given the number 7 shirt but the Chilean was never able to evoke his Arsenal form for the Reds and was loaned to Inter Milan for the 2019/20 season… when United paid him close to £200,000-a-week (half his weekly wages) not to play for them.