Even after struggling for almost a decade, Manchester United is still being considered as one of the biggest football clubs in England. They are also the most successful team in the Premier League. Due to club’s goodwill, United is able to attract the young and talented players in the transfer market. The club has immense financial resources which make it quite easy for them to brought the top players on the continent. In the last couple of years, Manchester United have consistently made some acquisitions with outrageous transfer fees.
Manchester United spends a lot of money on players for a few reasons:
- Competition: Manchester United competes in one of the most competitive football leagues in the world, the English Premier League. To remain competitive, the club needs to attract and retain the best players. To do this, they need to offer competitive salaries and transfer fees to lure players from other clubs.
- Brand: Manchester United is one of the biggest and most valuable football brands in the world. The club’s success on the pitch is closely tied to its brand and commercial success off the pitch. Signing high-profile players can help the club attract new fans and sponsors, and increase revenue from merchandise sales.
- Pressure to perform: Manchester United is one of the most successful football clubs in history, and their fans and shareholders have high expectations for the team’s performance. To meet these expectations, the club needs to invest in players who can perform at the highest level and help the team win trophies.
Overall, Manchester United’s spending on players is driven by a combination of competitive pressures, commercial considerations, and the need to perform at the highest level.
Let’s take a look at Manchester United’s Top 10 most expensive signings of all time.
Manchester United’s Top 10 most expensive signings of all time
10. Fred – £53m
United brought Fred to Old Trafford after a long-standing transfer battle with rivals Manchester City. The player was purchased from Shakhtar Donetsk in the year 2018 to strengthen the midfield. The Brazilian midfielder struggled a lot to adapt with the Premier League football. He became a crucial player under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but he is agian back on the bench under Erik ten Hag. The arrival of Christian Eriksen has reduced his playing minutes.
9. Anthony Martial – £54m
There was a time, when Anthony Martial was considered as one of Europe’s most exciting young takents. That was the reason why Manchester United bought him from Monaco in 2015. Martial cost £54m at that time and his hype was so much that his contract had an additional clause for an extra payment for winning the Ballon d’Or. As the time passed by, his form declined and he failed to lived up to his price tag.
8. Bruno Fernandes – £56.7m
This signing can be termed as one of the best signing for the club. Bruno Fernandes arrived at Old Trafford in January 2020 from Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon. The attacking midfielder played a crucial role in taking Solskjaer’s side to new heights. He was also nominated for PFA and Premier League Player of the Year in his first full season.
7. Casemiro – £60m
Casemiro was brought in from Real Madrid in August 2022. Manchester United were trying to find a solution to their midfield issues and Casemiro proved to be the perfect answer for them. It was quite shocking that Casemiro decided to leave Real Madrid for United. The Brazilian is considered as one of the world’s premier defensive midfielders.
6. Angel Di Maria – £67.5m
The signing of Angel Di Maria was quite lucrative. The Argentinian was brought in from Real Madrid and was also given the number 7 jersey. However, in the end, the curse of United number 7 jersey continued and Angel Di Maria was ultimately considered a flop at Manchester United.
5. Romelu Lukaku – £76.2m
Romelu Lukaku was brought in from Everton in 2017. He had a number of great seasons at Everton and that’s why he was brought in for such a hefty price. The Belgian striker scored 16 and 12 goals in his two Premier League seasons at Old Trafford. He can’t be labelled as a failed signing because he had two decent seasons with the club and most of the fee was recovered.
4. Jadon Sancho – £76.5m
Manchester United spend a lot of energy and time in the singing of Jadon Sancho. They had been constantly targeting the forward and in the end they got him from Dortmund in the summer of 2021. The search for a top-class right-winger ended by bringing one of the most exciting players in Europe. He had amazing four years in the German Bundesliga but failed to replicate his form at Old Trafford. Sancho is still trying to justify his price tag under Erik Ten Hag.
3. Harry Maguire – £80m
This can be termed as the worst signing by Manchester United. Liverpool signed Virgil Van Dijik and made him the most expensive defender in history. Just 18 months after, United broke that record as they signed Maguire from Leicester City for 80 million. He also became the captain of the team and was a regular starter under Solskajaer. As the time passed, Maguire proved to be a trouble in the back and eventually lost his place in the starting 11.
2. Antony – £86m
Antony was the favorite of new manager Erik Ten Hag. The manager was keen to bring him to Old Trafford. Ten Hag raided the Eredivise market and brought in the likes of Malacia, Lisandro Martinez and winger Antony. The Brazilian winger was the chief target for United and they succeeded in getting him. However, the new signing still needs to prove his value.
1. Pogba – £94.5m
This can be termed as the most popular transfer of all time in the history of Manchester United. The signing of Paul Pogba from Juventus in the summer of 2016 for a world-record transfer fee was the beginning of expensing transfers. Pogba was definitely a world class player but because of the money spent on him, a lot was demanded from him. Fans were frustrated with his inconsistent performances. Still after criticisim, Pogba remained one of the best midfielders in the world while being at United. But in the end, he failed to live up to his price tag and ultimately, returned to Juventus.