No Room for Paul Pogba: The Five Best Manchester United Signings Of The Post-Ferguson Era
In his very first interview after being appointed Manchester United interim manager charged with steering a sinking ship that had been weathering a Mourinho maelstrom, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had made it clear that he had been assured he would have some input in the transfer policy.
Now the Norwegian has been appointed the role on a full-time basis, no only has that input has exponentially increased, but also the scrutiny that will be levelled at him during his first foray into the market with the club in the summer, after a barren January transfer window.
Since Sir Alex Ferguson - ‘the gaffer’ as Solskjaer still likes to refer to him as - retired after winning the Premier League title for the 13th time in 2013, 26 players have been bought by Manchester United and its safe to say that not all have them have been wholly successful.
However, in the years since, with the journey of (now) four full-time managers post-Fergie, several signings have made their mark at the most successful club in English football.
Juan Mata (£37.1m from Chelsea)
Manchester United fans can certainly thank David Moyes for something. After a torrid first-half of the season under a different Scotsman to the one Red Devils had been used to for the past 27 years, the Chelsea double-winning Player of the Year was made the club’s record-signing in January 2014 in the hope of adding some much needed zest.
Though it's arguable that he never recaptured the form he showed in west London, the manner and dignity the Spaniard arrived at Old Trafford with has never dissipated, as well as his passion to the cause as he’s become one of a handful of players to have made over 200 appearances for the club.
Fans will long remember that exquisite goal he scored at Anfield against rivals Liverpool as he collected a brace and United collected three points.
Anthony Martial (£35m + from AS Monaco)
And speaking of Liverpool, here’s a man who knows how to make a mark. ‘Who, what, why?’ when the 18-year-old was purchased in the Louis van Gaal era in 2015 from the Ligue 1 outfit for a brogdin.
Scoring with his first shot in the Premier League, and then just the third player to score in both of his first two league games for Manchester United, Martial endeared himself quickly and the Frenchman has gone on to solidify himself as a fan favourite. Oodles of talent at his feet.
Sergio Romero (free from Sampdoria)
The 32-year-old can legitimately claim to be the best back-up goalkeeper in Europe. Romero has played understudy to the younger David De Gea, but has been stellar whenever he’s stepped between the sticks in tournaments. Has kept 27 clean-sheets in 44 appearances in goal, and the fact that he was brought on a free can often mean the significance of his signing slips under the radar.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (free from Paris Saint-Germain)
Another free signing, take nothing away from what the super-Swede gave Manchester United in the 2016/17 season before his tenure was cut short by injury.
‘Manchester, Welcome to Zlatan’ read the banner above Market Street and those who thought the then-34-year-old was past it were treated to a brilliant, almost uniquely eccentric haul of 17 goals in 28 league appearances, and almost single-handedly won the League Cup Final.
Luke Shaw (£27m from Southampton)
It’s unlikely that the English left-back would have even had a sniff of making this list a year ago but since, kicking off the 2018/19 season with what would turn out to be the winning goal against Leicester City.
Unthinkable in the last two seasons, Shaw has made 36 appearances in all competitions this season, the third most of anyone at the club.
After making his mark at Southampton, he was purchased for £30million a fortnight before his 19th birthday and becoming the world’s most expensive teenager at the time.
His inclusion on the list is underlined by it being a purchase that has finally blossomed and - due to his young age - can make the position his own for the next decade.
Special mention: Paul Pogba / Ander Herrera / Romelu Lukaku/ Victor Lindelöf/ Marouane Fellaini