Man Utd’s 10 most expensive transfers of all time

Nicholas Hughes
Nicholas Hughes
  • Updated: 4 Sep 2023 09:11 CDT
  • 6 min read
Mason Mount, Man Utd, 2023/24
© ProShots

Manchester United's owners have been criticised for their poor running of the football club, but their investment on players has been remarkable.

United have consistently been among the biggest spenders in the transfer market, bringing in world-famous stars on a yearly basis.

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But unfortunately for the Red Devils, many of these high-profile signings have failed to produce the goods at Old Trafford.

READ MORE: What are the most expensive transfers of all time? The 50 highest fees ever

Here are Man Utd’s 10 most expensive transfers of all time, many of which have since been described as flops.

10. 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 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 - before United won the 2023 League Cup - and that will continue to be the driving force for Fernandes in the years to come.

9. 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.

He immediately inspired United to a trophy - the League Cup - in an impressive debut season.

8. Mason Mount - £60m (from Chelsea, 2023)

Manchester United beat Liverpool to the signing of Chelsea favourite Mason Mount during the summer of 2023 for a fee of £55m plus £5m in add-ons.

Mount had spent 18 years at Stamford Bridge, coming through the youth system before breaking into the first team.

He played a crucial role in the club winning the 2021 Champions League and made his name as a goalscoring midfielder. However, things turned sour in his final campaign and he will be hoping to resurrect his career at Man Utd.

7. Rasmus Hojlund - £64m (from Atalanta, 2023)

With many rivals spending big on attackers in the 2023 summer transfer window, Man Utd got into the action by splashing out on Danish phenom Rasmus Hojlund.

The forward can play through the middle or out wide, as shown during his breakout season at Atalanta. He scored nine goals for the Serie A side who bought him from Sturm Graz and sold him at a 400% profit just 11 months later.

Hojlund's initial fee was £64m, but could rise to £72m if the forward meets all the add-ons after signing an initial five-year deal.

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
© ProShots - 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 mixed 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 Old Trafford, respectively, before leaving and going on to greater heights at Inter.

All in all, two relatively decent campaigns 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
© ProShots

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.

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 players in Europe at Borussia 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. But he fared just as bad in his second campaign and you have to wonder if he will be a success at Old Trafford.

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 horrid campaigns in 2021-22 and 2022-23 - losing his starting place in the latter. He is now linked with a summer move away from the club.

2. Antony - £86m (from Ajax, 2022)

The summer of 2022 saw Manchester United appoint Ten Hag as their new manager.

Subsequently, the Dutchman targeted the Eredivisie 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. This has not proved to be an astute piece of business as he was inconsistent in his first season. But there is time to come good.

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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