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Manchester United Flops: Sir Alex Ferguson’s Top 10 transfer failures



Manchester United cut their losses on two of Sir Alex Ferguson’s worst signings on transfer deadline day as Wilfried Zaha and Anderson were shown the exit door at Old Trafford.



Zaha re-joined his former club Crystal Palace on a permanent deal for an initial £3m – he cost United £5m per Premier League appearance.

Anderson returned to his native Brazil with Internacional, on a free transfer, despite moving to the Red Devils for £20m in 2007.

Sir Alex built various title-winning teams during his 26-year tenure at Old Trafford, but it is fair to say some signings fared better than others.

Click the arrow to see Sir Alex Ferguson’s top 10 worst signings as Manchester United boss and let us know whom you think was the Scots’ worst transfer…

10. Juan Sebastian Veron: £28.1m – July 2001-August 2003 – Click the arrow to see Sir Alex’s worst signings as Man United manager – While there is no denying Veron’s talent, he failed to justify his near £30m price tag. The Argentine performed well in the Champions League but struggled to adapt to the pace of English football. Veron was sold to Chelsea for half the price two years later, but could not establish himself there either and was eventually loaned to Inter Milan before heading back to Argentina with Estudiantes.

9. Diego Forlan: £6.9m – January 2002-August 2004 – “He comes from Uruguay, he made the scousers cry” – those two goals against Liverpool at Anfield defined Forlan’s United career, but unfortunately he did little else. Despite going on to prove himself in La Liga with Villareal and Atletico Madrid, the Uruguayan’s time in England will be remembered for glaring misses and needing 27 games before scoring his first goal for the club.

8. Kleberson: £6.5m – August 2003-August 2005 – The Brazilian World Cup winner was unveiled at Old Trafford on the same day as Cristiano Ronaldo, but the pair’s United careers went in opposite directions. While Ronaldo flourished, Kleberson failed to adapt to English football and after two years of little impact he moved to Turkish side Besiktas.

7. Dong Fangzhou: £3.5m – January 2004-August 2008 – The Chinese made just one Premier League appearance and probably did more for United’s commercial arm in Asia than impact on the pitch. He played mostly for the reserves and re-joined his former club Dalian Shide in 2008 after failing to receive a shirt number at Old Trafford and his contract was mutually terminated.

6. Wilfried Zaha: £15m – January 2013-February 2015 – The last signing of Sir Alex’s tenure, United paid an initial £10m for 28 minutes of Premier League football to show – a whopping £400,000 a minute. The England international failed to impress either David Moyes or Louis van Gaal and re-joined former club Crystal Palace on a permanent deal on transfer deadline day.

5. Massimo Taibi: £4.5m – August 1999-July 2000 – Ferguson struggled to find a successor for Peter Schmeichel and Taibi was arguably his worst attempt to replace the Great Dane. The Italian only made four league appearances for United and he is best remembered for his howler against Southampton.

4. Eric Djemba-Djemba: £3.5m – July 2003-January 2005 – So bad they named him twice? Djemba-Djemba was seen as a long-term replacement for Roy Keane, but spent most of his United career on the bench. Since leaving Old Trafford the Cameroonian has had spells in Qatar, Denmark and Israel highlighting the direction his career has gone.

3. Ralph Milne: £170,000 – November 1988-June 1991 – Sir Alex has openly stated the signing on Milne from Bristol City was one of his worst pieces of transfer business. “I only paid £170,000 but still get condemned for it,” said Ferguson. After leaving United, the Scottish midfielder never played professional football again.

2. Anderson: £20m – July 2007-February 2015 – The Brazilian was one of the most highly rated young talents in European football, prompting Ferguson to part with £20m to lure the midfielder from Porto. Despite the occasional show of talent, the 26-year-old failed to live up to his hype and he is best known for his song on the terraces rather than performances on the pitch.

1. Bebe: £7m – August 2010-July 2014 – Sir Alex signed the Portuguese on the recommendation of his assistant Carlos Queiroz, even though he had never seen him play. Bebe never broke into the first-team and admitted he thought United were joking when he heard of their interest. Bebe’s insight into his relationship with the Scot sums up his career in English football: “He told me to cut my hair, it will look better. So I cut it the same day. In the next training session, he didn’t recognise me. I went past him many times and he didn’t know me.”

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