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Live Reporting

Phil Dawkes

All times stated are UK

  1. Post update

    Odion Ighalo's loan move to Manchester United was the 31st notable signing the club have made following their last Premier League title win in 2012-13.

    Since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement at the end of that campaign, four different permanent managers have spent close to £1bn on new players without adding another league crown to their record haul of 20.

    The Scot's chosen successor David Moyes got the ball rolling with the recruitment of Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini, Louis van Gaal stepped up the spending on the likes of Angel di Maria and Anthony Martial, Jose Mourinho topped the lot with the then world record-purchase of Paul Pogba, while current boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has recently overseen the big-money signings of Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes.

    They are averaging over £30m per signing on transfer fee alone, with an FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League title to show for it.

    Their finishing league positions since Ferguson left: seventh, fourth, fifth, sixth, second and sixth.

  2. Pale by comparison

    This season has been another difficult one for the club so far, under the management of former striker Solskjaer.

    They currently sit eighth in the table, six points off the top four and a whopping 38 points behind leaders Liverpool.

    Speaking of Liverpool, the Reds have spent about £300m less than United since 2012-13 and have brought in an awful lot more in sales, but have improved consistently under Jurgen Klopp and are now pretty much certain to add the Premier League title to the European and world crowns they have claimed in the past year.

    They have taken 100 points from the last 102 available in the English top flight. United have taken 46.

    Rivals Manchester City are the only club to have spent more on transfers than United since 2012-13, but they have won the league three times, along with four League Cups and an FA Cup.

    Chelsea are not far behind on total spend, but have recouped more and won five major trophies, including the league twice.

  3. 'This is going to get bad'

    The United fans are restless and there has been fierce criticism of the club for their recruitment strategy, overseen by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

    Former Red Devils right-back Gary Neville predicted on a recent podcast that things are "going to get bad" at Old Trafford, following what he described as "terrible investments".

    "Over the last few years there is a frustration that Manchester United have been U-turning all over the place when it comes to strategy," said Sky Sports pundit Neville, who retired as a player in 2011.

    "I can't believe, with the investment that has been put into the squad over the last five or six years, you end up with that out on the pitch.

    "I can't change the ownership of Manchester United - no-one can - but I am struggling to understand why the ownership has persisted in trusting that management team to oversee that investment.

    "If you don't lose your job for overseeing that investment, that wage bill and putting that team out on the pitch, something is really wrong.

    "It's all coming home to roost. This is going to get bad. The next six months are going to be really difficult."

  4. Here comes the science bit...

    Below you will find a brief profile of each of United's notable post-Ferguson signings.

    For each, we have provided either the amount they were sold for or a current value, provided to the BBC by London-based investment company Carteret Analytics, which advises a number of Premier League clubs, plus another 12 leading sides from around Europe and the rest of the world, on potential new signings.

    To reach their valuation, Carteret calculates an objective rating of a player, which rates and values an individual’s contribution to his team winning matches. Proprietary algorithms then allow it to use this to form the basis of an intrinsic monetary value for the player.

    Interestingly, in general terms, Carteret's valuations suggest United have not necessarily overspent on players, despite the evidence on the pitch suggesting otherwise.

    There are possible explanations for this disparity, including poor coaching and management, and the performances of their opponents.

    However, the signing of Bruno Fernandes does hint at a potential shift towards a 'smarter' recruitment strategy, with the midfielder's intrinsic value of £82.15m far in excess of the £47m they initially paid for the player.

  5. Over to you...

    We'd like you to run the rule over the signings, giving us a simple verdict as to whether you think they have been a success or a failure.

    This does not include either of the significant players they brought in during the January transfer window - Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo - as the one game they have played between them is too small a sample size on which to judge. For the same reason, we've not included the likes of Lee Grant.

    We're going to provide you with an entry for each player and all you need to do is either press the thumb up symbol (if you think they've been a success) or thumb down symbol (to signify you see them as a failure).

    We'll go through them in chronological order, starting with...


    Bought for £27.5m from Everton

    Marouane Fellaini

    David Moyes stuck to what he knew for his first major signing after taking over at United, raiding the club he had just left, Everton, to sign midfielder Marouane Fellaini on deadline day in 2013.

    On his new signing, Moyes said: "He is a player with great ability and strength and I think he will make a real difference to our squad."

    Strong and tall but also often a flurry of knees and elbows, Fellaini was a divisive figure throughout his United career, which saw him score 22 times and provide 12 assists in 177 appearances. He helped United win the 2016 FA Cup final as well as the Europa League and League Cup in 2017 before departing to Chinese Super League club Shandong Luneng in February 2019.

    Sold for: Undisclosed


    Bought for £37.1m from Chelsea

    David Moyes and Juan Mata

    Spanish midfielder Mata was Moyes' second high-profile signing and one secured for a then club-record fee.

    The deal was seen as something of a coup for United. Mata had fallen out of favour with then Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho but had been named player of the year in both full seasons he was at Stamford Bridge.

    "Juan is one of the finest playmakers in the game today," declared Moyes. He has shown this in flashes over his 244 United appearances, scoring 47 goals and providing 41 assists, but has been in an out of the team, especially in the past couple of seasons.

    Over his United career, he has created a chance roughly every 41 minutes he is on the pitch. By comparison, during the same period, the most creative players in the division and ones carrying a similarly large price tag (the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Mesut Ozil and Christian Eriksen) create a chance closer to or slightly better than every 30 minutes.

    Carteret value: £24.77m


    Bought for £29m from Athletic Bilbao

    Ander Herrera

    United secured long-term target Herrera in the summer of 2014, having matched the release clause in the Spaniard's Athletic Bilbao contract to allow him to become Van Gaal's first signing as manager.

    "A fantastic young player, with great energy and creativity," was how United assistant manager Ryan Giggs described Herrera at the time, adding: "We believe him to be one of the brightest young prospects in Spain and I am certain he will be a big hit with the United fans."

    He would go on to make 189 appearances for United, scoring 20 times and providing 27 assists. He featured regularly but could never quite fully make himself indispensable. His best season was 2016-17, in which he played 50 times, helped the club win the Europa League and was named player of the year. Despite United's desire to keep him they could not agree terms on a new deal and he left at the end of last season. He is now at PSG.

    Sold for: Free


    Bought for £27m from Southampton

    Luke Shaw

    Shaw, then 18, became one of the world's most expensive teenage footballers and the fourth most expensive defender in history when he joined United from Southampton for an initial £27m.

    He had just featured for England at the 2014 World Cup, but there was no doubt that United were paying for potential as opposed to the finished article.

    It hasn't quite gone to plan. He suffered a huge setback when he broke his leg in two places in a game against PSV Eindhoven in 2015, with subsequent other injuries hampering his return. In April 2017, Jose Mourinho criticised Shaw's attitude and focus, having also questioned his tactical awareness six months earlier.

    Still only 24, he has time on his side and is featuring on a regular basis under Solskjaer.

    Carteret value: £46.81m


    Bought for £16m from Sporting Lisbon

    Marcos Rojo

    Rojo arrived at Old Trafford with pedigree in 2014, having played in six games as Argentina reached that summer's World Cup final in Brazil.

    "He has ability, physical strength and a willingness to learn," said Van Gaal of the then 24-year-old left-sided defender. "That means he has a very bright future ahead of him."

    However, Rojo has failed to nail down a regular starting spot since, with his most league appearances in a single season the 22 he made in his first. He had started just one league game this season and hadn't featured in a Premier League matchday squad since early November.

    He returned to Estudiantes, the club where he began his career, on loan in January.

    Carteret value: £22.56m


    Bought for £59.7m from Real Madrid

    Angel di Maria and Louis van Gaal

    United broke the British transfer record to make winger Angel di Maria the sixth most expensive signing in football history in the summer of 2014.

    Everyone made the right noises initially, with Van Gaal describing Di Maria as "world class" and the player declaring United were the only club he would have left Madrid for.

    Di Maria played a prominent role in helping Real win their 10th Champions League/European Cup the season before and he made a promising start at United, scoring three times and providing six assists in his first 10 league games. But he faded badly.

    A pelvic injury and failure to find a consistent playing position were followed by reports that he was unsettled in Manchester following an attempted break-in at his home.

    He would last only a season at Old Trafford before joining Paris Saint-Germain for a £15m loss.

    Sold for: £44.3m


    Bought for £13.8m from Ajax

    Daley Blind

    Having played under him for the Netherlands at the 2014 World Cup, Blind was no stranger to newly appointed United boss Van Gaal and opted to join up with him again at Old Trafford, leaving first club Ajax.

    "Daley is a great reader of the game, he has played under my philosophy over a number of years and he will be a great addition to the team," said Van Gaal at the time.

    Versatile but predominantly a defender, Blind played regularly under his compatriot, though less so following his departure. In total, he made 141 appearances, scoring six times and providing 10 assists before returning to Ajax in July 2018.

    Sold for: £14m (potentially rising to £18.5m)


    Loan signing from Monaco

    Falcao and Ryan Giggs

    Sixteen months after joining Monaco for £50m, Colombia forward Falcao moved to United on a season-long loan deal, which reportedly involved a £6m fee and £265,000 a week in wages.

    Falcao had previously played for Portuguese side Porto and Spanish club Atletico Madrid, where he scored 52 goals in 68 league games. His signing was seen as a major coup by United at the time as a host of other top-level European clubs were chasing the striker,

    Described by South American football expert Tim Vickery as "the tiger who can tear defences apart with cool efficiency", Falcao had recently recovered from an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

    He failed to live up to his billing, scoring just four times in 26 league appearances. The £43.5m option to buy him was not activated by United and he left at the end of the season.

    He did rediscover his scoring boots back at Monaco, scoring 54 in 88 games over the next three seasons.


    Free transfer

    Victor Valdes and Louis van Gaal

    Former Barcelona goalkeeper Valdes joined United on an 18-month deal as "the number two goalkeeper", according to manager Van Gaal.

    The Spain international won numerous trophies with Barca, including six La Ligas and three Champions Leagues.

    David de Gea was undoubtedly the number one keeper at the club, despite the then constant speculation linking him with a move elsewhere. Valdes would play just 106 Premier League minutes for the club, helping them to draws against Arsenal and Hull.

    He joined Standard Liege on loan before being released to join Middlesbrough.

    Sold for: Free


    Bought for £31m from PSV

    Memphis Depay and Louis van Gaal

    A lot was expected of Depay when he joined from PSV Eindhoven for a sizeable fee in 2015. A Netherlands international, he had finished the previous season as Eredivisie's top scorer with 22 goals as PSV secured their first Dutch title since 2008.

    Van Gaal fanned the flames by declaring that "young, versatile" compatriot Depay had the potential to become "a great footballer for this club".

    There were flashes of that in his 53 matches, but never consistently. Of his 29 Premier League appearances, 13 were from the bench and he scored just seven times in all competitions. In January 2017, he left to join Lyon.

    In September 2018, the player himself admitted his time at United "was not successful" but insisted that the club and its fans did not see the best of him.

    His 53 goals and 43 assists in 134 games for Lyon suggests there may be some truth to that.

    Sold for: £16m (rising to £21.7m)


    Free transfer

    Sergio Romero and Louis van Gaal

    Romero joined United after his departure from Italian club Sampdoria amidst the ongoing uncertainty over the future of first-choice keeper David de Gea, who was into the final year of his contract and wanted by Real Madrid.

    He had played in the 2014 World Cup final for Argentina and won the 2008-09 Eredivisie title under United boss Van Gaal at AZ Alkmaar.

    Romero is still at United, but so is De Gea, meaning the former has played very infrequently. The most Premier League appearances he has made in a single season is four, although he did start all of the matches in the knockout stages (including the final) as they won the Europa League in 2016-17.

    Carteret value: Unavailable due to lack of league games


    Bought for £12.7m from Torino

    Matteo Darmian and Louis van Gaal

    Then 25-year-old Italian defender Darmian joined United on a four-year deal from Torino, having made 146 appearances for the club since 2011 and winning 13 full international caps, including all three of his country's matches at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

    Van Gaal described him as "a right-sided full-back with the versatility of also being able to play on the left" and "a strong defender with the ability to go forward in the attacking positions which is a fantastic attribute to have and much needed in the fast rhythm of the Premier League".

    He played 28 times in the league in his debut season, in which he helped them win the FA Cup, but less and less with each subsequent one. He made just six appearances last season and none in 2019-20 before he was sold to Parma in September last year.

    Sold for: £1.4m (reported)


    Bought for £14.4m from Bayern Munich

    Bastian Schweinsteiger

    Another high-profile signing. German international midfielder Schweinsteiger joined the club from Bayern Munich, for whom he had played 536 times.

    He had helped his country win the 2014 World Cup and had one Champions League medal, eight Bundesliga titles and seven domestic cups to his name from his time at the German club.

    He had also played under United boss Louis van Gaal when the Dutchman managed Bayern between 2009 and 2011.

    Perhaps not the player he once was as a result of injuries suffered during his career, Schweinsteiger was unable to produce his best at United, making just 35 appearances across all competitions in two seasons. Jose Mourinho had him training alone or with the Under-23s after he took over as manager, so it was no surprise when he was allowed to join MLS side Chicago Fire in March 2017.

    Sold for: Free


    Bought for £25m from Southampton

    Morgan Schneiderlin

    Midfielder Schneiderlin was signed from fellow Premier League side Southampton, who he had represented in League One, the Championship and the top flight over a seven-year spell.

    A regular for the Saints, he found first-team opportunities much harder to come by at United. Over two seasons at the club he started just 25 league games and scored just once for the club in all competitions.

    Jose Mourinho clearly didn't fancy him and he was sold to Everton in January 2017, with United recouping almost all their initial fee.

    Sold for: £24m