Man Utd’s 10 most expensive transfers of all time

Nicholas Hughes
Nicholas Hughes 4 Sep 2022 14:21 BST 5 min read
Paul Pogba, Man Utd

Paul Pogba, Man Utd

Manchester United are the biggest club in the history of English football and with that has come significant financial power, allowing them to sign stars for lucrative fees.

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

10. Fred - £53m (from Shakhtar Donetsk, 2018)

A polarising figure at Manchester United, Fred arrived after a long-standing transfer battle with inter-city rivals Manchester City.

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

Fred has become a regular starter under many Man Utd managers

Fred has become a regular starter under many Man Utd managers

A staunch defensive presence in midfield but at times far from eye-catching on the ball, Fred remains a figure who divides fans and pundits. His form for Brazil has been impressive ever since joining Man Utd.

9. Anthony Martial - £54m (from Monaco, 2015)

It may be hard to believe now, but once upon a time Anthony Martial was considered one of Europe's most exciting young players.

As such, Man Utd forked over no less than £54m plus a number of intriguing additional clauses - such as an extra payment if he won the Ballon d'Or.

Although the French forward has enjoyed some impressive campaigns with the Old Trafford side, he's never quite lived up to such a price tag and has declined over recent years.

8. Bruno Fernandes - £56.7m (Sporting Lisbon, 2020)

As far as immediate impact, there have been few better signings than Bruno Fernandes. Arriving in January 2020, Fernandes took Ole Gunner Solskjaer’s side to new heights in his first 18 months at the club.

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. Casemiro - £60m (from Real Madrid, 2022)

Casemiro was called upon by Manchester United in August 2022 as the solution to their midfield woes, with Real Madrid finally relenting and allowing their star to leave in exchange for a handsome fee.

The Brazilian's record speaks for itself. Five Champions League titles, three La Liga wins, and a reputation as one of the world's premier defensive midfielders, making him a huge coup for the struggling Red Devils - despite arriving at the age of 30.

6. Angel Di Maria - £67.5m (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.

Angel Di Maria was ultimately considered a flop by Man Utd

Angel Di Maria was ultimately considered a flop by Man Utd

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.

5. Romelu Lukaku - £76.2m (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.

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.

Romelu Lukaku Manchester United 2018/19

4. Jadon Sancho - £76.5m (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.

Former 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.

He struggled in his first season at Old Trafford, with fans hoping for him to kick on in 2022-23.

3. 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 was steady in his first two seasons at United, but endured a horrid campaign during the 2021-22 term.

2. Antony - £86m (from Ajax, 2022)

The summer of 2022 saw Manchester United appoint Dutchman Erik ten Hag as their new manager.

Subsequently, Ten Hag targeted the Dutch market in the summer transfer window, spending heavily on the likes of Feyenoord's Tyrell Malacia, Ajax's Lisandro Martnez and most notably, Brazilian winger Antony.

United were so desperate to sign the Brazil international that they agreed to pay €100m for the wideman (£81m plus £5m in add-ons).

It was a mammoth fee for the tricky winger, as Ten Hag got his chief attacking target for the window.

1. Paul Pogba - £94.5m (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 remained one of the best midfielders in the world.

Nevertheless, he failed to live up to his price tag and left on a free transfer in the summer of 2022 to return to Juventus.

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