14 footballers whose careers suffered after signing for Manchester United

givemesport.com 95 days ago

Is there actually a curse at Old Trafford?

EPL_Man UTD

Highlights

  • Andre Onana has struggled to live up to expectations at Manchester United, with a series of errors impacting the team's performance.
  • Alexis Sanchez's move to United was a disappointment, as he failed to replicate his form at Arsenal and eventually left the club on a free transfer.
  • Juan Sebastian Veron's transfer to United for a record fee didn't work out, and he ended up leaving after just two seasons for a reduced fee.

Joining a club of Manchester United’s stature is no easy feat. Some players take to life at Old Trafford like a duck to water – think Cristiano Ronaldo, particularly during his first stint.

More often than the club would like, however, things don't pan out as expected. The bright lights of Old Trafford often frighten those picked up by the English giants – and, as a result, they have endured their fair share of disappointing transfers over the years.

Ex-Red Devils defender Gary Neville, who has been part of Sky Sport’s punditry team for the past decade, described his former club as a ‘graveyard for football players’, given their poor recruitment strategy and flurry of transfer window errors.

“It is a horror story from a recruitment point of view. I know there is a big call for for blaming the players and we have blamed the players a lot over the last 10 years, I was excited about those players coming to the club as many people were.

"Even last year with Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane, [Cristiano] Ronaldo - great signings. When [Angel] Di Maria came, we said it would be a great signing. But it has become a graveyard for football players this football club, where players are considering whether to even come to the club, they can't get players in."

And when you think about it, Neville was onto something. We’ve identified 14 players who ‘fell off a cliff’ at the club, despite being brilliant players elsewhere. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

1 Andre Onana

Andre Onana Man Utd

Despite being in the formative stages of his Old Trafford career, Andre Onana has not lived up to the expectations of being the ball-playing goalkeeper destined to reach the very top. His former Ajax manager spent £47.2 million to acquire him over the summer after David de Gea fell out of favour under Ten Hag and a lot of pressure was put on the Cameroonian’s shoulders.

A catalogue of errors later, which sees United struggling on all fronts, and the former Ajax custodian may be left with egg on his face. A subtle reminder: it was just last season when he was imperious between the posts for Inter Milan as they raced to the final in Istanbul.

Andre Onana - Manchester United Statistics (As of 01/12/23)

Games

Yellow Cards

Red Cards

Goals Conceded

Clean Sheets

20

3

0

33

7

All statistics per Transfermarkt

2 Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez

When at Arsenal, Alexis Sanchez spent most weekends terrorising defences and being the north Londoner’s standout player. In 166 outings for the Gunners, he scored 80 goals and provided a further 45 assists. So, understandably, United thought their plan of snaring his services was failproof.

Midway through the 2017/18 campaign, Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were the two parties involved in a swap deal between the two Premier League giants and fans and pundits alike assumed that the Manchester-based side were benefitting from the exchange. Forty-five appearances, five goals and nine assists later and the Chile attacker joined Inter Milan on a free transfer. Ouch.

Alexis Sanchez - Manchester United Statistics

Games

Goals

Assists

Yellow Cards

Red Cards

Trophies

45

5

9

5

0

0

All statistics per Transfermarkt

3 Juan Sebastian Veron

For all of Sir Alex Ferguson’s strokes of masterclass during his illustrious 26-year tenure at the helm, one piece of business that can be filed away under the ‘ones to forget about’ category is Juan Sebastian Veron’s transfer in 2001. A then British transfer record fee of £28.1 million seemed like an absolute coup given how well he performed in Lazio’s engine room.

Unfortunately for all parties involved, the Argentine lasted just two seasons under the Scotsman and moved to Premier League rivals Chelsea as they recovered half of their initial spend as the west London-based outfit paid £14 million for his signature.

Juan Sebastian Veron - Manchester United Statistics

Games

Goals

Assists

Yellow Cards

Red Cards

Trophies

82

11

15

10

0

02/03 Premier League

All statistics per Transfermarkt

4 Donny van de Beek

Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek

As Erik ten Hag arrived in Greater Manchester, Donny van de Beek’s eyes lit up. It was a chance to perhaps rejuvenate a somewhat dystopian stint in England, though since his compatriot took over, he has resumed his regular role on the bench.

Before signing for the club, Van de Beek had been a brilliant tempo-setting midfielder for Ajax and played a crucial role in the Eredivisie powerhouse’s run to the Champions League final in the 2018/19 season. The following season was much of the same – the Dutch midfielder scored ten goals in all competitions and piqued interest from some of Europe’s elite clubs.

Donny van de Beek - Manchester United Statistics (As of 01/12/23)

Games

Goals

Assists

Yellow Cards

Red Cards

Trophies

62

2

2

2

0

2023 League Cup

All statistics per Transfermarkt

5 Radamel Falcao

Radamel Falcao

The Colombian forward arrived at the club with plenty of promise. Having totted up 70 strikes in his 91-game Atlético Madrid career, United were under the assumption that he would continue firing on all cylinders upon his move – but, oh, how were they wrong.

Alas, his one-season stay at the club was far from impressive, as the enigmatic striker scored just four goals in 29 senior appearances. What then followed for Radamel Falcao was a long-awaited return among the goals, as he joined his previous employers, Monaco, and spearheaded them to become Ligue 1 winners in the 16/17 season. Perhaps the 20-time English champions were the problem?

Radamel Falcao - Manchester United Statistics

Games

Goals

Assists

Yellow Cards

Red Cards

Trophies

29

4

5

2

0

0

All statistics per Transfermarkt

6 Shinji Kagawa

Kagawa

The Japanese midfielder joined United during a time of change and perhaps that can be considered an attribute to his poor stint under the bright lights of the Premier League club. Joining from Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, he played a bit-part role during his side’s 2012/13 winning campaign, often rotating with the ever-reliable Wayne Rooney.

Upon Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, his successor David Moyes didn’t perceive Shinji Kagawa as a player he wanted to involve in his plans. Across his ill-fated 57 games for the club, he managed to rack up just 16 goal involvements before being shipped back to Dortmund in 2014.

Shinji Kagawa - Manchester United Statistics

Games

Goals

Assists

Yellow Cards

Red Cards

Trophies

57

6

10

2

0

12/13 Premier League, 2014 Community Shield

All statistics per Transfermarkt

7 Anderson

Anderson

Having been crowned football’s Golden Boy in 2008, United would’ve presumed they were on to a winner after spending £35m on him and his compatriot Nani, who had a much better career at the club. Leaving on a loan basis in 2014 – and then permanently in 2015 – and the Brazilian’s stint at Old Trafford was one to forget.

Claiming that he ‘could’ve been best in the world’ with a superior mentality, he was a far cry from what United expected him to turn out to be once the club cut ties with the central midfielder. Retiring in 2019, he plied his trade for a trio of clubs before calling time on his career, one in which earned him eight appearances for Brazil.

Anderson - Manchester United Statistics

Games

Goals

Assists

Yellow Cards

Red Cards

Trophies

181

9

20

14

0

07/08 Champions League, 2009 Club World Cup, 07/08, 08/09, 10/11, 12/13 Premier League, 2009 and 2010 League Cup, 2012 and 2014 Community Shield

All statistics per Transfermarkt

8 Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

In the early embers of his Old Trafford spell, he was an undeniable starter and was a pivotal part of their 2016/17 Europa League-winning campaign. Before long, he was their eternal substitute as the days on his time at the club seemed eerily numbered.

Henrikh Mhkitaryan shone for Borussia Dortmund before United spent around the £26 million mark on him in 2016, with José Mourinho acting as the driving force behind the transfer. Before being shipped off to Arsenal - in exchange for Sanchez – the Armenian managed just 13 goals and a further 11 assists in 63 outings in all competitions.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan - Manchester United Statistics

Games

Goals

Assists

Yellow Cards

Red Cards

Trophies

63

13

11

6

0

16/17 Europa League

All statistics per Transfermarkt

9 Morgan Schneiderlin

Morgan Schneiderlin

Under Louis van Gaal’s reign, the Dutchman was persistently in the market for a defensive midfielder and, as such, he opted for Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin in 2015. In 261 games for the south coast outfit, he became an imperious part of their 2011/12 promotion-winning roster.

His fate at Old Trafford flipped on its head when Van Gaal departed, and Mourinho took his place in the dugout. In his two-season stay, he mustered just 47 games, scoring just one goal and also adding the solitary assist to his name. Receiving £24 million for his services from Everton in 2017, the club were counting their lucky stars that they managed to recoup at least some of the fee they spent just two seasons before.

Morgan Schneiderlin - Manchester United Statistics

Games

Goals

Assists

Yellow Cards

Red Cards

Trophies

47

1

1

5

0

16/17 Europa League, 2016 FA Cup, 2017 League Cup, 2017 Community Shield

All statistics per Transfermarkt

10 Bastian Schweinsteiger

MixCollage-30-Nov-2023-05-35-PM-9326

Formerly of Bayern Munich, Bastian Schweinsteiger was previously regaeded as one of the best midfielders of his generation. Given he was an eight-time Bundesliga champion and World Cup winner, the Old Trafford faithful had good reason to get excited after he joined in 2015.

Unfortunately he was past the peak of his powers by the time he arrived in England. With his flailing legs struggling to keep up with the fast-paced nature of the Premier League, matters were made unfathomably worse when Mourinho rocked up to Old Trafford. After less than two years in the fabled red of United, a stint in which he racked up just 18 league appearances, the once world-class midfielder moved to the MLS for free.

Bastian Schweinsteiger - Manchester United Statistics

Games

Goals

Assists

Yellow Cards

Red Cards

Trophies

35

2

3

5

0

16/17 Europa League, 2016 FA Cup, 2017 League Cup

All statistics per Transfermarkt

11 Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba

The epitome of ‘on his day’. Paul Pogba rose to prominence in the youth ranks at United as a fresh-faced youngster and was let go by club legend Sir Alex Ferguson – a decision the central midfielder later claimed left him ‘heartbroken’.

Four years later and the club reinvested their interest in the Frenchman and split ways with £93 million to see him don the colours of the club once again. His return was met with heaps of optimism by fans of the Red Devils but, upon his second departure to Juventus in 2022, a sigh of relief was let out around Old Trafford, thanks to his lofty wage packet and hodgepodge form.

Paul Pogba - Manchester United Statistics

Games

Goals

Assists

Yellow Cards

Red Cards

Trophies

233

39

51

42

3

16/17 Europa League, 2010 and 2017 League Cup

All statistics per Transfermarkt

12 Adnan Januzaj

MixCollage-30-Nov-2023-05-33-PM-4847

Remember when the former United winger Adnan Januzaj was the next big thing? Tipped for widespread stardom after a great start, there was even a point where the scramble for Januzaj’s signature soon began among top European clubs. But that’s where the fairytale story ends.

Rising up the Anderlecht youth ranks, United took a punt on the fresh-faced youngster back in 2011, but he was out the door four years later as Dortmund opted to pick him up. While in M16, he featured 27 times for the Under-21s, recording nine goals and 12 assists, before being afforded a chance at senior level. But he failed to capitalise on his opportunity and, after 63 outings, he was sold.

Adnan Januzaj - Manchester United Statistics

Games

Goals

Assists

Yellow Cards

Red Cards

Trophies

63

5

6

10

0

12/13 Premier League, 2016 FA Cup, 2014 Community Shield

All statistics per Transfermarkt

13 Antony

Manchester United winger Antony

Albeit early, Antony has flattered to deceive in United threads. Ten Hag spent a huge amount of money (£86 million) on the Brazilian in a last-day summer 2022 deal and had their pre-existing relationship in Holland to reason for his lofty outlay.

After picking up 31 goals and 27 assists in 134 club appearances across his two Ajax and São Paulo stints, which yielded two Eredivisie titles, it was the opportune time for Ten Hag to plot and then complete his reunion. Since his arrival, however, he has plundered a mere 11 goal involvements (8G, 3A) in his 57-game stint as things stand. Whether he’ll be able to turn round his fortunes in Greater Manchester remains to be seen, though the winger has been just one of many poor bits of business.

Antony - Manchester United Statistics (As of 01/12/23)

Games

Goals

Assists

Yellow Cards

Red Cards

Trophies

57

8

3

10

0

2023 League Cup

All statistics per Transfermarkt

14 Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho of Manchester United

There was much to be excited about on the back of Jadon Sancho’s £73 million-worth move from Borussia Dortmund. One of the most exciting talents in world football, he caught the attention of many clubs, including the Red Devils, after finding the back of the net 50 times across 137 fixtures. Not only that but he turned assistor 64 times and became a key aspect of Dortmund’s Champions League-proven side.

Before being banished for first team proceedings for publicly outing Ten Hag, the former Bundesliga starlet scored 12 goals and notched a further six assists in 82 United games. Now destined for the chopping block, the Englishman may have played his last game in United colours.

Jadon Sancho - Manchester United Statistics (As of 01/12/23)

82

12

6

0

2023 League Cup

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