SIR ALEX FERGUSON left Manchester United with the Premier League trophy – but a raft of bad signings has seen it taken away with little sign of returning.
An incredible £431.7million has been splashed on 13 dodgy deals in particular by flop bosses ranging from Louis Van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who was given the boot last month.
Romelu Lukaku cost an initial £75m and United struggled to find takers when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decided to offload the Belgian to Inter where he thrived, before re-joining Chelsea.
A promising first season was lost with a drop-off in 2018-19, scoring at an average of one every three games before leaving for Italy.
At the very least, Lukaku provided some memorable moments but the same cannot be said for Angel Di Maria.
The winger arrived with much fanfare in 2014 and quickly dropped off the pace, shepherded out to Paris Saint-Germain where he painfully found the form he lacked in England.
The next expensive error was Fred who joined for £52m, but he still has time to prove himself at Old Trafford.
In the slightly more affordable but nonetheless useless category are Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Morgan Schneiderlin, who came in for £30m and £27m respectively.
Still, United recouped most of the fee they spent on French anchor man Schneiderlin when he joined Everton but Mkhitaryan’s exit saw Alexis Sanchez arrive – making the Chilean’s initial fee cheap and yet still a huge disappointment.
Among those who arrived with potential and waited until after leaving to go on to great things is Memphis Depay.
Now a star at Barcelona and with the Dutch national team, his baffling form in the 2015/16 season showed that United had lost their touch when turning young gems into superstars.
Many United fans point to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward as the chief architect of these abysmal deals.
While replacing the peerless David Gill was a tough assignment, and finding a man capable of replacing Fergie nigh-on impossible, there are serious questions over his approach.
Not only are these players examples of bad deals, former managers such as Jose Mourinho were dismayed that not enough players were bought.
Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind were picked up in 2014 off the back of good World Cup campaigns – a strategy that rarely pays off and cost the club over £30m.
And although Matteo Darmian was an Italian international when plucked from Torino, Louis van Gaal’s exit cast him to the fringes.
De Beek’s has had a torrid time at Old Trafford since joining from Ajax for £35m
Few have flopped in the Prem like Di MariaCredit: PA:Empics Sport
Falcao struggled both at United and ChelseaCredit: PA:Empics Sport
Perhaps the Red Devils thought they were pulling off a cunning piece of Andrea Pirlo-esque business when bringing in Bastian Schweinsteiger but, at 31, the German was far past his best during an 18-month spell.
Radamel Falcao was still in his late-20s when arriving on loan in 2014 on a £6m fee and massive wage combination yet hit just four goals in 29 games.
United’s last boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also brought in a few questionable faces to Old Trafford.
The Norwegian was responsible for recruiting Dutch flop Donny van de Beek from Ajax for £35m last summer.
But he’s hardly set the Premier League alight, making just four domestic starts since the beginning of last season.
De Beek’s joined by Jadon Sancho on Solskjaer’s list of poor signings.
The winger signed from Borussia Dortmund in the summer for a whopping £73m but has only made five appearances in that time.
However, the English international may prove doubters wrong after netting his first goal, post-Solskjaer against Villarreal last week.
Of course, not all of Fergie’s signings hit the right note – just ask Kleberson, Eric Djemba Djemba, Juan-Sebastian Veron, Massimo Taibi.
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