Manchester United’s Worst Transfers During the Ed Woodward Era

Manchester United's Worst Transfers

As Ed Woodward announced his resignation as Manchester United‘s executive vice-chairman earlier this week, we take a look at Manchester United’s worst transfers during his tenure.

The 49-year-old took on the mantle in 2013 following the resignation of long-time executive David Gill. During his tenure, Ed Woodward played a key role in improving the Manchester United brand. But, on the football side, his decisions have not been well received.

During his nine years at the club, Woodward has spent more than one billion on transfers without much success. The four managerial changes that also took place during this time has failed to have the desired effect. With Woodward stepping down at the end of this year, we take a look at five of the worst transfers deals during his reign.

Five of Manchester United’s Worst Transfers Under Ed Woodward

5. Henrikh Mkhitaryan – £30 million (Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United)

Henrikh Mkhitaryan arrived in England as the first Armenian to play in the Premier League. The attacking midfielder had an injury-riddled start and missed most of the first half of the 2016-17 season through injuries and fitness issues. Mkhitaryan did perform better during the second half but was a shadow of the player that won the Bundesliga Players’ Player of the Season award last season. The Armenian did score the winning goal that gave Manchester United their first UEFA Europa League title.

The Armenian started the second season with a bang, making five assists in three games. Mkhitaryan, though could not sustain his momentum, and inconsistency crept in. The attacking midfielder spent just half a season more at Old Trafford before moving to Arsenal in a sensational swap deal that saw Alexis Sanchez moving in the opposite direction.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggled to adjust to his new surroundings. He was also not helped by the tactics deployed by Jose Mourinho. During his one and half seasons at Old Trafford, Mkhitaryan made 63 appearances and scored 13 goals.

4. Memphis Depay – £25 million (PSV Eindhoven to Manchester United)

Perhaps a move to Manchester United came a bit too early for Memphis Depay. The Dutch forward arrived at Manchester United after a prolific season with PSV. The forward had just turned 21 when he moved to the glamorous Premier League.

The transfer, though, proved to be too big a step for the young rising star. Depay struggled to adjust to the new league, even speaking about the tough schedules to Dutch daily De Telegraaf. The club’s decision to hand the iconic No.7 jersey also proved too much for the youngster.

Memphis Depay spent just one and a half-season at Old Trafford, making 53 appearances and scoring seven goals. The forward left Manchester in 2017 to join Ligue 1 side, Olympique Lyon.

3. Morgan Schneiderlin – £25 million (Southampton to Manchester United)

The Frenchman moved to Manchester after seven impressive seasons with Southampton. During his time at St Marys’, Schneiderlin earned a reputation as one of the best central midfielders in the Premier League.

The Frenchman arrived at Manchester United as the replacement for the ageing Michael Carrick. Schneiderlin had a decent debut season under Louis van Gaal, making close to 40 appearances. But, following the arrival of Jose Mourinho, things started to go downhill for the midfielder. Morgan Schneiderlin failed to convince the Portuguese manager and spent most of his time on the bench. The Frenchman saw just 11 minutes of Premier League action under Jose Mourinho during the first half of his tenure.

Morgan Schneiderlin finally left the club in 2017 to join Everton, 18 months after moving to Manchester United. In his short spell, the Frenchman made 47 appearances and scored one goal for the Red Devils.

2. Alexis Sanchez (Swap Deal with Arsenal)

The Chilean was a tough, hardworking, and unrelenting player – key characteristics for a typical Jose Mourinho signing. But somehow, the dream move failed to reap the rewards.

Sanchez arrived in Manchester in 2018 in a sensational swap deal that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan moving the other way to Arsenal. Despite not having any transfer fee, the Chilean arrived with a big paycheck. Sanchez had a decent start to life at Manchester but soon struggled under Jose Mourinho’s conservative playing style. A change in management did not do any favours for Sanchez.

Lack of minutes saw Sanchez shipped to Inter Milan on loan for the 2019-20 season. The Chilean then made his move to Inter permanently last summer, after terminating his Manchester United contract.

In his short spell at the club, Alexis Sanchez made 45 appearances but scored just five goals.

1. Angel Di Maria – £59.7 million (Real Madrid to Manchester United)

It was a match made in heaven, a superstar winger in his prime arriving at Manchester United to take the fabled No.7 jersey. Angel Di Maria had the flair, the name, and all the ingredients to prosper at Manchester United. The Argentine had just reached the World Cup Finals with Argentina and won the Champions League with Real Madrid. But, somewhere along the way, the move failed.

Di Maria moved to Manchester United in 2014 as the most expensive British signing of all time. The Argentine had an impressive start to the season, winning the Manchester United Player of the Month in September 2014. But, a hamstring injury hampered his progress. Following his injury and a burglary attempt at his house, the Argentine was never the same again. The attacking midfielder form suddenly dipped. Towards the end of his time at Manchester, Di Maria fell out with the manager.

The Argentine made 32 appearances for the Red Devils and scored just four goals. At the end of his season, Di Maria moved to Paris Saint Germain.

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