Since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013, Man United have brought in 38 signings to improve the first-team squad.
Some of those signings have undoubtedly been a significant success. Juan Mata may not be a first-team regular these days, but after signing for the club in 2014, the Spaniard has recorded a total of 34 goals and 27 assists from 189 Premier League games.
Luke Shaw, signed in 2014, is still a first-team regular. He won the club’s Players’ Player of the Year award last season.
Then, of course, there is Bruno Fernandes. For most of the Portuguese midfielder’s time at the club, he has been one of the best players in the division.
But for all the Manchester United signings that have worked over the years, many have proved to be disappointing. Let’s take a look at five Man United signings who, for whatever reason, just haven’t yet worked under the current management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer:
(All transfer fees via Transfermarkt)
Donny van de Beek
Previous club and transfer fee: Ajax to Manchester United, £35.10m (2020)
The case of Donny van de Beek at Manchester United has been a curious one.
Signed from Ajax in the summer of 2020, he arrived as a skilful midfield player who regularly contributed goals and assists in the Eredivisie.
In fact, during his final three seasons with Ajax, he scored 28 goals and provided 21 assists in the Dutch league.
But things haven’t worked out for one of the 2020 crop of Man United signings since his £35m move. Van de Beek hasn’t been able to break into the United midfield, which always puts Bruno Fernandes into the Dutchman’s favoured advanced role.
Most of his appearances have come from the bench. In addition, he has featured only five times in all competitions this season.
There’s undoubtedly plenty more to come, but it’s increasingly questionable as to whether United fans will see that whilst the 24-year-old is still at the club.
Previous club and transfer fee: Atalanta to Manchester United, £19.17m (2021)
Signed at just 18 in the summer of 2020 (officially confirmed in January), Amad Diallo has been hugely impressive during his brief showings in a United shirt. So much so, it’s a surprise we haven’t seen more of him.
His one goal for United came in a Europa League quarter-final against AC Milan, scoring with a superb header.
Amad has indeed been injured for much of this season, but he recently returned for the U23 squad, netting two goals in two games.
The future – and present – is undoubtedly bright for the young winger, and now that he is seemingly back fit, we’ll hopefully see him produce the type of quality for the senior team that he has shown in the game time he has received.
Previous club and transfer fee: FC Porto to Manchester United, £13.50m (2020)
Signed in the same window as van de Beek to provide cover for Luke Shaw at left-back, Alex Telles was seen as a coup for Manchester United.
The Brazilian left-back has immense attacking qualities, as proven during his time at Porto. He scored 21 goals and provided 39 assists during his four seasons there.
It is a surprise, then, that Telles hasn’t been given more game time at United, particularly in the wing-back formation that Solskjaer is currently utilising.
He was superb in United’s 2-1 win over Villarreal in the Champions League in September. The Brazilian in a solid defensive performance and chipped in with a goal at the other end.
Since then, however, he has failed to start a game in any competition. Luke Shaw is the preferred choice of Solskjaer.
Previous club and transfer fee: Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United, £76.50m (2021)
When Jadon Sancho finally joined Manchester United back in July, after what seemed like a lifetime of interest, it signalled the end of an era.
It was an era where, during every transfer window, much of the talk was about Sancho and United. Will he or won’t he sign? Will United pay the fee that Borussia Dortmund require?
In July, they did. Sancho arrived at the club for a fee of around £75m.
However, he hasn’t yet fired on all – or any – cylinders at Old Trafford.
The 21-year-old hasn’t scored a goal or provided an assist for United in 13 appearances. In addition, Solskjaer’s new three-man defence has essentially left no requirement for a winger. Sancho wasn’t named in the most recent England squad either.
But The Athletic has reported that there have been teething problems for Sancho. They include an ear infection and a calf injury. Mason Greenwood – who has four goals in the Premier League this season – has generally been preferred on the right side.
There’s still plenty of time for Sancho to improve, though, and force his way into the current United side.
Previous club and transfer fee: FC Porto to Manchester United, £19.80m (2018)
Having signed for United before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s arrival, Diogo Dalot nonetheless has been one of the Man United signings that just hasn’t worked out.
The full-back spent last season on loan at Milan. Although he made a solid impression, Dalot has struggled for game time back at Old Trafford.
He has made just six appearances in all competitions so far this season. With United having shipped 11 goals in their last four Premier League games, though, Dalot could now have his chance at right-back or wing-back.
Featured Image Credit: Getty