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Manchester United's Summer Transfer Windows Ranked From Worst To Best

Ryan Sidle

| Last updated 

Manchester United's Summer Transfer Windows Ranked From Worst To Best

So far this summer hasn't gone according to plan for Manchester United, with only Donny van de Beek signed, but where would this summer's transfer window go in our list of United's best and worst?

Before the 2002/03 season Premier League clubs could buy players at any time before March 31st. Since then teams have only been able to make signings between July and September and again in January.

These windows work out differently but leaves teams having to make do with what they've got for several months.

This summer United were expected to make the big signing of Jadon Sancho but, with less than two weeks left of the window, that doesn't seem likely to happen now.

A failure to get Sancho, or improve several other parts of the squad, would make this one of United's worst summer windows, so we decided to rank the ones that have gone so far from worst to best.

18. 2013/14 season - In: Marouane Fellaini, Out: Paul Scholes - Sir Alex Ferguson tried to sign Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale before retiring, then David Moyes pulled the plug on a move for Thiago Alcantara, signed Fellaini for more than his release clause and missed out on Leighton Baines. It set the tone for what was to come.

17. 2009/10 season - In: Antonio Valencia, Mame Biram Diou, Gabriel Obertan, Michael Owen, Out: Cristiano Ronaldo - There were a couple more departures but replacing Ronaldo with those four players was the headline. The fact United only finished a point behind champions Chelsea shows how good Fergie was, and how stacked the squad already was.

Not exactly the best group of signings to replace Ronaldo. Image: PA Images
Not exactly the best group of signings to replace Ronaldo. Image: PA Images

16. 2014/15 season - In: Angel de Maria, Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Falcao, Out: Danny Welbeck, Shinji Kagawa, Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, Wilfried Zaha - Louis van Gaal's revolution didn't exactly go according to plan. Di Maria broke the club's transfer fee record and would be sold a year later for a loss.

15. 2018/19 season - In: Fred, Diogo Dalot, Lee Grant, Out: Daley Blind, Sam Johnstone, Michael Carrick - United finished second under Jose Mourinho and the club failed to build on their season. A versatile defender, third choice goalkeeper and deep midfielder were replaced like-for-like and Mourinho missed out on his top priority centre back. By December he was sacked. The scenario feels all too familiar this summer.

Fred has improved but he's hardly been a world beater. Image: PA Images
Fred has improved but he's hardly been a world beater. Image: PA Images

14. 2010/11 season - In: Bebe, Chris Smalling, Chicharito, Out: Zoran Tosic, Ben Foster, Gary Neville - The only time Fergie signed a player he'd never watched and Bebe proved why. The fact they went on to win the league after this window shows how good the side was, and how good the manager was.

13. 2015/16 season - In: Anthony Martial, Morgan Schneiderlin, Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sergio Romero, Out: Angel di Maria, Chicharito, Jonny Evans, Robin van Persie, Nani, Rafael - In letting Jonny Evans and Rafael go, Van Gaal sold two players who United would arguably not have better than until last summer when they signed Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Martial was the only saving grace of an awful window.

12. 2019/20 season - In: Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Dan James, Out: Romelu Lukaku, Matteo Darmian, Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera - Maguire and Wan-Bissaka have improved Solskjaer's defence, even wit criticism of Maguire, but James has been a dud and the major improvement didn't come until Bruno Fernandes arrived in January, Ed Woodward could have signed him the previous summer.

11. 2017/18 season - In: Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic, Victor Lindelof, Out: Adnan Januzaj, Wayne Rooney - Lukaku didn't last long but his impact, especially in that first season, helped United to a second place finish, the best they've done post Fergie.

Lukaku did well for United but didn't fit in with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's plans. Image: PA Images
Lukaku did well for United but didn't fit in with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's plans. Image: PA Images

10. 2016/17 season - In: Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Out: Paddy McNair, Tyler Blackett, Will Keane, Victor Valdes - Mourinho lost no one of any note and brought in four players who improved the side. Zlatan led United to the Europa League and League Cup double, and of course in Jose's eyes the Community Shield made it a treble.

9. 2008/09 season - In: Dimitar Berbatov, Out: Gerrard Pique, Chris Eagles, Mikael Silvestre, Louis Saha - It took all summer to get Berbatov from Spurs and no one else joined. United still won the league by four points and reached the Champions League final, the team was that good. Losing Pique was a blow long term.

8. 2011/12 season - In: David de Gea, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Out: John O'Shea, Gabriel Obertan, Wes Brown, Owen Hargreaves, Paul Scholes, Edwin van der Sar - The 2008 Champions League winners were on there way out, Fergie moved to replace Van der Sar quicker than he managed with Schmeichel. United lost the league on goal difference local rivals Manchester City.

7. 2012/13 season - In: Robin van Persie, Shinji Kagawa, Nick Powell, Angelo Henriquez, Alex Buttner, Out: Dimitar Berbatov, Park Ji-Sung, Ritchie de Laet, Paul Pogba, Michael Owen - This transfer window was 90% about getting in Van Persie, beating City to his signature. The forward gave Fergie one last league title before calling it a day. Not playing Pogba and allowing him to leave for nothing would comeback to kick the club in the arse before too long.


6. 2006/07 season - In: Michael Carrick, Tomasz Kuszczak, Out: Ruud van Nistelrooy - Not too much in this window but Carrick became such an important part of the side that this window ends up high on the list.

5. 2002/03 season - Rio Ferdinand, Ricardo, Out: Dwight Yorke - Another summer where only one signing really makes a difference and again a striker who had previously been magic left. Ferdinand would go on to create the best defensive partnership in Premier League history with Nemanja Vidic. He'd just come off the back of a huge World Cup for England when he signed.

4. 2003/04 season - In: Cristiano Ronaldo, Kleberson, Eric Djemba-Djemba, Tim Howard, David Bellion, Out: David Beckham, Juan Sebastian Veron - Ronaldo saves this transfer window but he was so good that it's saviour enough for a top four spot. Has any summer window seen two as contrasting signings as Ronaldo and Djemba-Djemba? One a five time Ballon d'Or winner, including one at Old Trafford, one so bad they named him twice.


3. 2005/06 season - In: Park Ji-Sung, Edwin van der Sar, Ben Foster, Out: Phil Neville Kleberson - It took six years but Fergie finally replaced Schmeichel, and for some Van der Sar was a better keeper. Park was also a hugely important and underrated signing.

2. 2004/05 season - In: Wayne Rooney, Gabriel Heinze, Alan Smith, Gerard Pique, Liam Miller, Out: Nicky Butt, Diego Forlan - Any window you bring in the club's all time top goal scorer is a pretty good one. Rooney came in after the Euros. Fergie wanted to wait another year before signing him but a bid from Newcastle forced his hand. Heinze and Smith were cult heroes at the club for a short time too.

Hargreaves and Nani were essential to United's success. Image: PA Images
Hargreaves and Nani were essential to United's success. Image: PA Images

1. 2007/08 season - In: Anderson, Nani, Owen Hargreaves, Carlos Tevez, Out: Gabriel Heinze, Giuseppe Rossi, Alan Smith, Kieran Richardson, Tim Howard - Tevez and Hargreaves were the final pieces in Sir Alex Ferguson's latest incredible rebuilds. The team won the Champions League and Premier League double at the end of the season and won the league three years in-a-row. Nani hit the ground running and was a good signing for United throughout and even Anderson, much maligned later, was very good in his first season and even scored in the final shootout against Chelsea in Russia, having come on for about 30 seconds before the end of extra time. A hell of a summer.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Football News, Manchester United, Transfer stories, Transfer rumours, Premier League, Transfer news, Jadon Sancho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Transfer reports

Ryan Sidle
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