The transfer window has opened, and Manchester United fans will be hoping the right moves are made to kickstart a challenging season.
The 1-0 defeat at home against Wolves only served to highlight the need for improvement in key areas as Ralf Rangnick gets his first stab at shuffling the pack. The Manchester Evening News explains how he hopes to see development in Ethan Laird and Teden Mengi as they head out, but fans will be eyeing who comes in to boost the squad. The season could be salvaged despite entering the new year seventh in the table; the Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid is certainly winnable. United might be eighth favourites for the competition in the latest football odds from Coral, but they’re ahead of their Spanish rivals, and a good robust transfer policy could improve chances further. After all, a Champions League win would be a seismic shift in expectation from a couple of weeks ago.
However, not all transfer windows have bought joy. For every solid acquisition, there’s a disappointing signing just waiting to pull on a United shirt and disappoint us all. Who are the worst of these so-called saviours? It’s bound to be openly debated, but we think these are the five worst Manchester United signings of all time.
Bebe arrived at Old Trafford having played for a homeless shelter in a street football tournament in 2009; he went from there to a multi-million pound move within 12 months. Sadly, his Untied career never got going. He was recommended to Sir Alex by his former assistant Carlos Queiroz, on what one can only imagine was April 1st. He appeared twice in the Premier League, scored in the Champions League, then faded like an old photograph. He’s still playing in La Liga with Rayo Vallecano.
Garry Birtles £1.25m
Birtles was a two-time European Cup winner with Nottingham Forest, and he arrived at Old Trafford in the days where a £1m fee raised eyebrows. He arrived in October 1980, after nine goals in 14 games for Forest. In 28 for United, he scored once, and that was in the FA Cup. The following season he bagged 11 in 33 but was sold back to Forest, where he averaged a goal every three games.
Zoran Tosic £7.2m
Tosic replaced Cristiano Ronaldo when he made his debut against Spurs, and at the time, he was believed to be the next big thing at United. Unfortunately, he was woeful, appearing just five times from the bench in two years before being sold to CSKA Moscow for around £8m. He’s since found his feet in the football world, playing 76 times for his country.
Eric Djemba-Djemba £3.5m
It’s never easy when you sign for a club and have the likes of Paul Scholes, Roy Keane and Nicky Butt to displace, but Djemba-Djemba never looked like a long-term successor to those players. He is best remembered for a last-gasp goal that beat bitter rivals Leeds in the League Cup, but after 20 appearances, he left for Aston Villa. At Villa Park, he struggled to displace Gavin McCann and Steven Davis in the midfield, saying everything you need to know.
Massimo Taibi £4.5m
Above all the others, there’s one moment that stands out from Taibi’s awful time at Old Trafford. Matt Le Tissier scored some blockbuster goals, but his against United in October 1999 was not one of them. It trickled through Taibi’s legs and immediately immortalized him on YouTube videos for eternity. He only played four times for United before a move back to Italy with Reggiana, where he was not only a solid keeper, but even scored to secure a 1-1 draw with Udinese in 2001.