Man Utd’s best and worst transfer windows rated after Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho deals – The Mirror

The Premier League season is less than one week away from getting underway and Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be looking at their upcoming campaign with new-found optimism.

The Norwegian was finally able to capture his long-term target Jadon Sancho after an 18-month-long transfer saga, with the England international arriving in a £73million transfer.

Solskjaer has now followed that up with another high-profile signing in Raphael Varane, who has agreed a £42m move to Old Trafford to bolster their defensive options.

The Red Devils face a battle to hang onto Paul Pogba, the French midfielder who has only a year left to run on his current contract and is being courted by Paris Saint-Germain.








Jadon Sancho arrived at Manchester United for £73m in July 2021
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Getty Images)



But overall, it is shaping up to be a fine transfer window for Man Utd, which would only be improved if they manage to convince the 28-year-old to ink a new deal.

Alternatively, if Pogba does leave Old Trafford, Solskjaer has been tipped to move for Rennes starlet Eduardo Camavinga in a cut-price £30m deal and that would represent another piece of smart business.





But how does this transfer window compare to others since the departure of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson? An era which has seen the club splurge millions upon millions on promising talent but not always get it right.

With deals ranging from impressive to inexplicable, Mirror Football takes a deep dive into looking at United’s new arrivals over the years…

Summer 2013








David Moyes lasted only eight months in charge at Old Trafford
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PA)



Manager: David Moyes

Signings: Marouane Fellaini (£28m, Everton ), Guillermo Varela (£2.4m, Penarol)

A disastrous beginning to the new era laid out at Old Trafford after Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in May 2013.

Thiago Alcantara was Moyes’ top target but he chose Bayern Munich instead, while the club missed out on Daniele De Rossi, Luka Modric and Wesley Sneijder.

Even a late deal for Fabio Coentrao fell through, not to mention the farce involving Ander Herrera’s transfer and the LaLiga registration office.

January 2014








Juan Mata joined Manchester United from Chelsea in 2014 as David Moyes’ most expensive signing
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Getty Images)



Manager: David Moyes

Signings: Juan Mata (£37m, Chelsea )

It was viewed as something of a coup, snaring the highly-popular playmaker Juan Mata from Chelsea. In reality, the Blues had made a handsome profit on the player who had fallen down the pecking order under Jose Mourinho.

Having said that, Mata is still at United seven-and-a-half years later with 273 appearances under his belt, underlining his true worth to the club.

Summer 2014








Angel Di Maria was signed for £59.7 but sold a year later after 32 appearances for the club
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PA)



Manager: Louis van Gaal

Signings: Angel Di Maria (£59.7m, Real Madrid ), Ander Herrera (£36m, Athletic Bilbao), Luke Shaw (£27m, Southampton ), Marcos Rojo (£16m, Sporting Lisbon), Daley Blind (£13.8m, Ajax), Radamel Falcao (Loan, AS Monaco) and Victor Valdes (Free, Barcelona )

Moyes wanted Cesc Fabregas and got Ander Herrera, who had finally arrived a year later. Angel Di Maria had become the club’s record signing but scored only four goals before heading to PSG for £45m a year later.

Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Victor Valdes were plagued by injury, while Radamel Falcao’s dream loan, costing £7m, quickly entered flop territory. Only Shaw remains from the infamous 2014 summer window.

January 2015

Manager: Louis van Gaal

Signings: None

Summer 2015








Anthony Martial was signed as a virtual unknown from Monaco for £36m in 2015
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GETTY)



Manager: Louis van Gaal

Signings: Anthony Martial (£36m, AS Monaco), Memphis Depay (£25m, PSV Eindhoven), Morgan Schneiderlin (£24m, Southampton), Matteo Darmian (£12m, Torino), Bastian Schweinsteiger (£6m, Bayern Munich), Sergio Romero (Free, Sampdoria)

On paper, it looked like Van Gaal had made some excellent signings. The experience of Bastian Schweinsteiger, the pace of Memphis Depay and the exciting unknown of Anthony Martial.

But the new arrivals failed to get firing for United with Van Gaal’s brand of football branded boring and unpredictable. United’s return their total £103m investment was shockingly low, something Ed Woodward must take the blame for.

January 2016

Manager: Louis van Gaal

Signings: None

Summer 2016








Paul Pogba rejoined Manchester United in 2016 for £89m from Juventus
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Getty)



Manager: Jose Mourinho

Signings: Paul Pogba (£89m, Juventus ), Eric Bailly (£30m, Villarreal), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£26m, Borussia Dortmund), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Free, PSG)

When you hire Mourinho, you must back that up with expensive signings of a high quality — and United did exactly that.

They broke their transfer record again to bring Paul Pogba back from Juventus, recruited the creative maestro Henrikh Mkhitaryan and secured Zlatan Ibrahimovic for nothing.

Pogba and Ibrahimovic made their mark, while Mkhitaryan largely flopped, but it was arguably their best business since Ferguson’s departure.

January 2017

Manager: Jose Mourinho

Signings: None

Summer 2017







Jose Mourinho spent £75m to sign Romelu Lukaku from Everton



Manager: Jose Mourinho

Signings: Romelu Lukaku (£75m, Everton), Nemanja Matic (£40m, Chelsea), Victor Lindelof (£38m, Benfica)

Mourinho could have zero complaints about the business United did in his second summer as the Red Devils eyed their first title in five years.

Romelu Lukaku looked a sound investment based on his scoring record at Everton, while Nemanja Matic had won two titles in three seasons at Chelsea. Much was expected of Victor Lindelof, but even four years on the jury is out on how successful the Swede has been.

United finished second that year, prompting Mourinho to demand further investment the next summer.

January 2018








Alexis Sanchez’s 18-month stint in Manchester was one to forget
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PA Archive/PA Images)



Manager: Jose Mourinho

Signings: Alexis Sanchez (Swap, Arsenal )

How could we forget the infamous January swap deal involving Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan?

With Sanchez’s contract expiring that summer, the Gunners agreed to take Mkhitaryan in a straight swap. Neither player lived up to that heights, with Sanchez managing only five goals in 43 games and he left for Inter Milan 18 months later.

Summer 2018








Fred was acquired from Shakhtar Donetsk for £52m
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GETTY)



Manager: Jose Mourinho

Signings: Fred (£52m, Shakhtar Donetsk), Diogo Dalot (£19m, FC Porto), Lee Grant (£1.5m, Derby County)

Mourinho had somehow convinced Fred to turn down Pep Guardiola and Manchester City to head to Old Trafford, but with the benefit of hindsight, that fee looks incredibly steep.

Diogo Dalot has hardly featured and has not delivered when he has, with a loan to AC Milan in 2020-21. With business like this, it was no surprise to see Mourinho sacked in November.

January 2019

Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Signings: None

Summer 2019








Harry Maguire cost Man Utd £80m, a world record fee for a defender
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Manchester United via Getty Images)



Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Signings: Harry Maguire (£80m, Leicester City), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£50m, Crystal Palace), Daniel James (£17m, Swansea)

The first window where new boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made signings and it pointed to a new strategy for United: they wanted young, British talent to develop.

Spending to the tune of £147m, Solskjaer was building for the future at Old Trafford and his heavy spending appears to have paid off 30 months down the line, with Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka both progressing well.

January 2020







Man Utd star Bruno Fernandes has averaged a goal every two games since joining in January 2020



Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Signings: Bruno Fernandes (£46.5m, Sporting Lisbon), Odion Ighalo (Loan, Shanghai Shenhua)

Man United do not typically do much business in January but Solskjaer felt a need for some creativity.

Arguably their best signing of the post-Ferguson era, Bruno Fernandes has hit the ground running with 40 goals in 80 appearances for the club since his big-money move. Odion Ighalo was drafted in as a backup striker and bagged some key goals before heading back to China earlier this year.

Summer 2020








Donny Van de Beek has struggled since arriving from Ajax in a £35m deal in July 2020
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Michael Regan/Getty Images)



Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Signings: Donny van de Beek (£35m, Ajax), Alex Telles (£13.5m, FC Porto), Facundo Pellistri (£8m, Penarol), Edinson Cavani (Free, PSG)

It has to be questioned why United would sign Donny van de Beek for such a large fee when it is abundantly clear Solskjaer is not keen on the Dutchman. The 23-year-old made only four starts in his debut season despite being fully fit.




But the Norwegian’s decision to bring in Edinson Cavani was inspired. His first season produced 17 goals in the red shirt and the Uruguayan, 34, has earned a new one-year deal as a reward.

Alex Telles was signed to compete with Luke Shaw but he has flattered to deceive thus far, while Facundo Pellistri is one to watch for the future. Overall, their biggest failure was struggling to land Jadon Sancho after months of negotiations.

January 2021








Amad scored his first goal Man Utd during their draw with AC Milan
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Getty Images)



Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Signings: Amad (£37m, Atalanta)

Just the one signing came through the doors in January for United with Solskjaer’s squad looking almost complete.

But the club reacted to their failure to sign Sancho after plumping for the heavily-scouted Ivorian starlet Amad, who had been spotted shining for Atalanta’s youth team. Expect to see more of the 18-year-old this season.

Summer 2021








Raphael Varane has joined Man Utd in a £42m deal from Real Madrid
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Getty Images)



Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Signings: Jadon Sancho (£73m, Borussia Dortmund), Tom Heaton (Free, Aston Villa)

Signing Sancho would have felt like a huge relief to Solskjaer, particularly for a much lower fee than was originally quoted.

Add in the impending arrival of Varane and the pair of signings will surely mark United as title contenders as they aim to end their nine-year wait for a league title.

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