Man Utd’s 10 most expensive transfers of all time

Nicholas Hughes
Paul Pogba, Man Utd

Paul Pogba, Man Utd

Manchester United have been arguably the biggest club in English football for the better part of the last four decades, and with that has come significant financial power.

The Red Devils have dipped into their pockets to purchase some of world football’s greatest talents, with many of them proving successful but some not quite standing the test of time.

Here are Manchester United’s 10 most expensive transfers of all time, from big name signings from abroad to established Premier League talent.

10. Nemanja Matic - £40m (from Chelsea, 2017)

Jose Mourinho turned the tables in 2017, signing Nemanja Matic for the second time in three years, having initially brought him back to Chelsea from Benfica.

The Serbian was coming off the back of a tremendous season as Chelsea romped to the Premier League title, and he continued his imperious form in his first campaign at United, stamping his authority as one of Europe’s top holding midfielders at the time.

After that, though, he embarked on a steady decline, with his appearances and influence decreasing each year.

9. Raphael Varane - £41m (from Real Madrid, 2021)

Raphael Varane received a rock star's reception when he was presented to the Old Trafford faithful following Man Utd's capture of him from Real Madrid.

Varane had established himself as one of the best defenders in teh world furing his decade at Madrid.

Four Champions League titles and one World Cup, among other trophies, were on his resume when he arrived.

8. Bruno Fernandes - £47m (Sporting Lisbon, 2020)

As far as immediate impact, this could well be the top of the list. Arriving in January 2020, Bruno Fernandes took Ole Gunner Solskjaer’s side to new heights in his first 18 months.

Nominated for PFA and Premier League Player of the Year in his first full season, the Portuguese star was arguably the best footballer in the country during his first two years at the club.

The one thing missing from the early part of his United career was silverware, and that will continue to be the driving force for Fernandes in the years to come.

7. Fred - £47m (from Shakhtar Donetsk, 2018)

A polarising figure at Manchester United, Fred arrived after a long-standing transfer battle with the likes of Manchester City.

The Brazilian struggled to adapt in first season, playing just 17 times, but slowly grew to become a regular contributor for Solskjaer.

A staunch defensive presence in midfield but at times far from eye-catching on the ball.

6. Aaron Wan-Bissaka - £50m (from Crystal Palace, 2019)

Aaron Wan-Bissaka broke through very quickly at Crystal Palace, and just as quickly he was off to Old Trafford in this mega-money deal.

Undoubtedly a big talent when he joined, Wan-Bissaka is another one who split opinions among fans.

Praised for his defensive work but not so much for his attacking output, Wan-Bissaka enjoyed a relatively steady start to his United career.

5. Angel Di Maria - £59.7m (from Real Madrid, 2014)

After going to the World Cup final with Argentina and with years of pedigree at Real Madrid, Angel Di Maria was a monumental signing for United, a club record at the time in 2014.

With the No.7 on his back, Di Maria started well with three goals and four assists in his first six games, including that gorgeous, impudent chip at Leicester.

But it very quickly went south with rumours of a rift behind the scenes. His wife would later label Manchester a “s***hole” as the pair turned to Paris after just 12 months in England.

4. Jadon Sancho - £73m (from Borussia Dortmund, 2021)

Manchester United spent the best part of a year trying to sign Jadon Sancho before finally getting their man in the summer of 2021.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had been searching for a top-class right-winger for quite some time and was delighted to bring in a player who developed into one of the most exciting widemen in Europe at Dortmund.

During four years in the German Bundesliga, he scored an impressive 50 goals and produced 64 assists in 137 games.

3. Romelu Lukaku - £75m (from Everton, 2017)

Romelu Lukaku had a very up and down time at United, joining for a hefty sum of money after a series of great seasons at Everton.

Romelu Lukaku Manchester United 2018/19

The Belgian scored 16 and 12 goals in his two Premier League seasons at the club, respectively, before leaving and going on to greater heights at Inter.

All in all, two relatively decent seasons and a sale that recouped most of the fee that was parted with for him, he wasn't the colossal failure he is sometimes made out to be.

2. Harry Maguire - £80m (from Leicester City, 2019)

It was 18 months after Liverpool made Virgil van Dijk the most expensive defender in history when Man United broke that record by taking Harry Maguire from Leicester.

It took the Englishman just half a season to become the permanent United captain, and despite initial concerns over the fee he would become one of the first names on Solskjaer’s team sheet.

Maguire’s impact on the team was felt more so when he was not in the line-up, and he will continue to be important for the Red Devils as they chase silverware in the coming seasons.

1. Paul Pogba - £89m (from Juventus, 2016)

Paul Pogba made his widely publicised return to Man United in the summer of 2016 for a world-record transfer fee at the time.

Another player that came under intense scrutiny, largely because of the money spent on him, Pogba frustrated fans with inconsistent performances.

Injury issues halted his impact on the side, but when fit and when performing at his best, Pogba remains one of the best midfielders in the world.