Just hours after interim head coach Ralf Rangnick revealed that Manchester United needed ‘six, seven, maybe ten new players’ in the summer transfer window following a 4-0 hammering at the hands of title-chasing Liverpool, it has been announced that long-term chief scout Jim Lawlor will be leaving the club after 17 years at Old Trafford.
Lawlor oversaw the spending of over £1 billion in transfer fees since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson across five different managerial reigns, an eye-watering sum of money for any club, let alone a club with just three major trophies to their name in the near-decade since their legendary boss moved on.
So, which of their transfers excelled, and which players flopped upon arrival at Old Trafford? 101 takes a look at how much was spent, and how they fared in the north west.
2013-14: £69.42 million
Juan Mata (£40.26m) – HIT
In his final days at the club, Juan Mata is now well past his best but was an important player under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, appearing in 33 games in 2014/15 and in every league game of the 2015/16 season, where he racked up 26 goal contributions across two seasons.
His contributions to the side have faded in the seasons since, having racked up just 139 minutes across all competitions this time out, but the Spaniard has nonetheless been a good servant to the club even if he has perhaps outstayed his welcome.
Marouane Fellaini (£29.16m) – HIT
Following David Moyes from Everton to Manchester United, Fellaini became something of a laughing stock due to often being thrown on as an auxiliary forward, but he was an important figure for the Red Devils under successive managers.
177 appearances for United yielded 22 goals and 12 assists, and while he didn’t start every game, the Belgian left fans with some memorable moments.
2014-15 : £175.82 million
Angel Di Maria (£67.50m) – MISS
Perhaps one of the biggest flops on the list, Angel Di Maria only spent 12 months at Old Trafford before he was unceremoniously shipped off to Paris Saint-Germain a season later for a loss.
He began his United career well, with 2 goals and 2 assists in his opening 3 games for the club, but never settled in Manchester and fell out with the management as he was moved around the pitch in an attempt to find results. Three goals and 11 assists in 27 Premier League games mask a lot of the cracks that appeared at Old Trafford when it came to the Argentine’s Premier League stint.
Luke Shaw (£33.75m) – HIT
Luke Shaw has perhaps never hit the heights expected of him when he became the most expensive full-back in the world in 2014, signing for Manchester United from Southampton.
Down in part to injuries, including a double leg break, and targeted abuse over his weight, Shaw has quietly gone about rebuilding his career at Manchester United since Jose Mourinho’s departure and was one of the best full-backs in the Premier League in the 2020-21 campaign.
Still able to walk into the side eight years on from his arrival, it is safe to say that Shaw has proven good value for money.
Ander Herrera (£32.40m) – HIT
Manchester United have been missing Ander Herrera ever since he left, which perhaps says more about their current options than the Spaniard himself. A hard-working option in the centre of the park who racked up nearly 200 appearances for the club, he can be viewed as a success despite his flaws.
Marcos Rojo (£18m) – MISS
One of several centre-backs on this list that have flattered to deceive, Marcos Rojo was largely signed by virtue of him having a left foot. His Old Trafford career was plagued by injuries and loss of form, and he only ever managed 76 Premier League appearances across six seasons with the club.
The failures of Rojo and his successors at Old Trafford have left the centre of defence a position that the club seemingly need to strengthen every summer.
Daley Blind (£18.75m) – HIT
Brought to Manchester United at the request of fellow Dutchman Louis van Gaal, Daley Blind arrived as a defensive midfielder but spent most of his Old Trafford career either at centre-back or left-back.
He was a regular presence in 2015/16, making 35 appearances in a side that had the joint-best defence in the Premier League despite finishing fifth. The time he spent at United will not be remembered with any great fondness, but as an individual he was a successful piece of short-term business.
Radamel Falcao (Loan) – MISS
Coming off the back of a cruciate ligament injury that kept him sidelined for the back half of the 2013/14 season with Monaco, Manchester United took a risk on the Colombian forward as an answer to their goalscoring woes by adding him on loan, hoping that Falcao could return to his free-scoring form.
He couldn’t, however. 29 appearances for the Red Devils yielded just 4 goals and 5 assists, and he only managed 90 minutes on five occasions in the Premier League. It was no surprise to see the club have no interest in making the loan move permanent at the end of the campaign.
2015-16: £140.4 million
Anthony Martial (£54m) – MISS
“50 million, down the drain, Tony Martial scores again”, the Manchester United crowd sung every time the Frenchman found the back of the net for the Red Devils.
And despite doing so to great effect in 2019/20, his career in Manchester has never really come close to justifying the hefty fee shelled out for the now 26-year-old.
There is still time for the current Sevilla loanee, with a new manager coming in who could change his fortunes. For now, however, it looks like another poor signing.
Morgan Schneiderlin (£31.5m) – MISS
The first of two successive players signed in the summer of 2015 and sold 18 months later, Morgan Schneiderlin seemed well out of his depth at Old Trafford. The Frenchman impressed at Southampton, persuading the Red Devils into splashing out over £30 million on the man they thought could fix their midfield.
A year and a half later, however, he was shipped off to Everton for a £10 million loss.
Memphis Depay (£30.6m) – MISS
Another subject to a swift stint in Manchester red, Depay was brought in to much fanfare following success in the Eredivisie, but never adapted to English football and only lasted 18 months on the back of just 1500 minutes of Premier League football.
Two goals and one assist in that time was enough to convince van Gaal that Depay was not up to scratch, and he was sold to Lyon in January of 2017.
Matteo Darmian (£16.2m) – MISS
Darmian never really impressed in the Manchester United side, deployed in both full-back roles to no great effect. His four-year spell at the club, before he joined Parma in 2019, saw him manage 92 appearances and 4 goal contributions, while he never hit the 30 appearances mark in the Premier League across his time in the North West.
Bastian Schweinsteiger (£8.1m) – MISS
A decorated veteran snagged on the cheap from Bayern Munich, Schweinsteiger’s reputation preceded him when he made the move to Old Trafford. However, the German failed to live up to such expectations, with injury and fitness issues restricting him to just 18 Premier League appearances in 18 months at the club.
Sergio Romero (Free) – HIT
As any keen shopper knows, you can never really go wrong with a freebie, and this was certainly true of Sergio Romero, who was widely considered the best number two in the Premier League for several seasons.
The Argentine should have donned the number one jersey more often than the seven Premier League appearances he was afforded, and if not for David de Gea, would definitely have done so.
Paul Pogba (£94.5m) – MISS
Set to depart on a free transfer this summer for the second time in his United career, Paul Pogba has never lived up to his hefty price tag and was booed off in his most recent home appearance against Norwich.
His return, dubbed ‘Pogback’ on social media, has been the most underwhelming signing on the list.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£37.8m) – MISS
Bought amid high expectations, Mkhitaryan was another that failed to carry his form over to Manchester. Coming in for almost £40 million, the Armenian managed just 13 goals and 11 assists in 63 appearances across all competitions before he was swapped for Alexis Sanchez, who didn’t fare a whole lot better.
Eric Bailly (£34.2m) – MISS
Nicknamed “car crash Eric” by some sections of the fanbase, Bailly has long been unpredictable, and not in a good way. Able to provide brilliant performances for 89 minutes, he often makes a mistake that proves crucial, and as a result has never made himself an undroppable player.
For over £30 million, United would have expected more.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Free) – HIT
Another veteran striker that Manchester United took a risk on, this one went far better.
Ibra found the net 29 times in 53 appearances for the Red Devils, as well as providing 10 assists even as his career began to enter its twilight years. Departing after two years at the club, his contributions have still not been fully replaced.
Romelu Lukaku (£76.23m) – MISS
On the face of it, a record of 55 goal contributions in 96 games is perfectly acceptable, but the Manchester United faithful and Lukaku never really saw eye to eye. Ridiculed over his first touch and his size, the Belgian showed his true ability at Inter Milan, though he has regressed once again at Chelsea.
Nemanja Matic (£40.23m) – HIT
Somehow still the best defensive midfielder Manchester United have even five years on, Matic is a shadow of his former self. However, when signed from Chelsea he remained a top-class option for at least his first season in red.
While £40m was a hefty fee, he has certainly proven more value for money than others on our list.
Victor Lindelof (£31.5m) – MISS
Has never come across as looking like a first-choice defender for a side with title aspirations, and was dropped down the pecking order last summer when Raphael Varane arrived. Has improved season upon season since arrival but still flatters to deceive.
Alexis Sanchez (Swap) – MISS
A lose-lose for all parties, the only positive from the Mkhitaryan/Sanchez swap was that Arsenal got as bad a deal as the Red Devils. Sanchez only managed 45 appearances in all competitions after the January switch, registering 5 goals and 9 assists before he was quietly shipped off to Inter Milan.
Fred (£53.1m) – MISS
Fred still playing a key role in Manchester United’s midfield is more down to the lack of alternatives rather than his own ability. A hard-worker, he has certainly improved since he joined the club, but is still far from the answer to the problems that the Red Devils face. However, the Brazilian still has time to change that.
Diogo Dalot (£19.8m) – MISS
Another that, like Fred, has time to reconstruct the narrative around him, Dalot has not managed to impress many since moving to Old Trafford as a youngster. Needs a run of games under the incoming new boss to prove that he is good enough to start for the Red Devils.
Harry Maguire (£78.3m) – MISS
Good in patches, Maguire’s performances have dropped so significantly that his future as United captain now looks uncertain. Uncomfortable in a high line, something that Erik ten Hag is expected to want to implement, he is unlikely to prove his doubters wrong any time soon.
Bruno Fernandes (£56.7m) – HIT
The one shining light at Manchester United in recent years, Bruno Fernandes hit the ground running after his January move from Sporting CP, and despite a small drop off in form under Rangnick, remains one of the club’s key assets.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (49.5m) – MISS
A dinosaur in the age of the attacking fullback, Wan-Bissaka has often been criticised for his lack of ability going forwards despite his brilliance at the back. At £50 million, he seems well out of his depth as a conventional full-back in the modern game.
Dan James – (£16m) – MISS
James is another whose stay in Manchester was short-lived. The Welshman joined Manchester United over Leeds United, but failed to make an impact at Old Trafford and has since been shipped off to Elland Road, albeit for a profit.
Odion Ighalo – (Loan) – MISS
99 Premier League minutes make it hard to make a case for the loan signing being a success even if expectations were low, and it seemed more of an emergency addition than anything else. Far from the Manchester United standard.
Donny van De Beek (£35.1m) – MISS
Currently unable to get a game on loan at Everton, van De Beek couldn’t buy a start at Manchester United either. Far from the answer that United were looking for to their midfield woes.
Alex Telles (£13.5m) – MISS
Is a clear step down from Luke Shaw and was even overlooked in favour of Diogo Dalot against Liverpool at Anfield. Not what the Red Devils thought they were getting.
Amad Diallo (£19.17m) – N/A
The jury is still out on the youngster who joined from Atalanta in January of 2021, with the 20-year-old currently out on loan at Rangers.
Raphael Varane (£36m) – MISS
Varane joined to great acclaim but injury and poor form have seen him part of one of the worst Manchester United sides since the turn of the century. The World Cup winner has looked all at sea alongside Harry Maguire.
Jadon Sancho (£76.5m) – MISS
A miss so far, Sancho’s Manchester United career has shown signs of bursting into life, but brought in to be the finished product after two brilliant seasons with Borussia Dortmund, he is yet to replicate those heights.
Cristiano Ronaldo (£13.5m) – HIT
The return of Ronaldo dominated the early part of the season at Old Trafford, and it is not hard to imagine where they would be without his contributions. The Portuguese’s goals single-handedly helped United out of the Champions League group stage and also saw them pick up crucial Premier League points to avoid the season being even worse.
Now 37, he cannot have much left in the tank, but in commercial value and on-pitch value, Ronaldo has already paid his transfer fee several times over.
Player ratings, fan reaction & more: Liverpool take charge of title race as Manchester United’s top-four hopes take a beating
This article was edited by Conor Laird.
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|5||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||0||0|
|19||West Ham United||0||0||0|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||23|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur||23|
|Ronaldo, Cristiano||Manchester United||18|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur||17|
|Mane, Sadio||Liverpool FC||16|
|De Bruyne, Kevin||Manchester City||15|
|Jota, Diogo||Liverpool FC||15|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City||15|
|Zaha, Wilfried||Crystal Palace||14|
|Sterling, Raheem||Manchester City||13|
|Bowen, Jarrod||West Ham United||12|
|Maddison, James||Leicester City||12|
|Toney, Ivan||Brentford FC||12|
|Mount, Mason||Chelsea FC||11|
|Saka, Bukayo||Arsenal FC||11|
|Mahrez, Riyad||Manchester City||11|
|Pukki, Teemu||Norwich City||11|
|Watkins, Ollie||Aston Villa||11|
|Player||Team||Red Cards||Yellow Cards|
|Mings, Tyrone||Aston Villa||0||11|
|Xhaka, Granit||Arsenal FC||1||10|
|Tarkowski, James||Burnley FC||0||11|
|Firpo, Junior||Leeds United||0||11|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||0||10|
|Gallagher, Conor||Crystal Palace||0||10|
|Brownhill, Josh||Burnley FC||0||10|
|Bednarek, Jan||Southampton FC||0||10|
|Bissouma, Yves||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||10|
|Moreno, Rodrigo||Leeds United||0||9|
|Neves, Ruben||Wolverhampton Wanderers||0||9|
|Romeu, Oriol||Southampton FC||0||9|
|Rudiger, Antonio||Chelsea FC||0||9|
|Mctominay, Scott||Manchester United||0||9|
|Salisu, Mohammed||Southampton FC||0||8|
|Ronaldo, Cristiano||Manchester United||0||8|
|Toney, Ivan||Brentford FC||0||8|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||0||7|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||1||7|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||13|
|Alexander-Arnold, Trent||Liverpool FC||12|
|Barnes, Harvey||Leicester City||11|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur||10|
|Bowen, Jarrod||West Ham United||10|
|Mount, Mason||Chelsea FC||10|
|Robertson, Andy||Liverpool FC||10|
|Maddison, James||Leicester City||9|
|James, Reece||Chelsea FC||9|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||9|
|Cancelo, Joao||Manchester City||9|
|De Bruyne, Kevin||Manchester City||8|
|Jesus, Gabriel||Manchester City||8|
|Kulusevski, Dejan||Tottenham Hotspur||8|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur||7|
|Saka, Bukayo||Arsenal FC||7|
|Antonio, Michail||West Ham United||7|
|Lacazette, Alexandre||Arsenal FC||7|
|Mbeumo, Bryan||Brentford FC||7|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||6|