Over the years, there have been some huge stars who have struggled to handle the heat that comes along with being a Manchester United player.
Whether it’s down to a loss of confidence, a bust-up with the manager or generally just not being good enough, there have been countless examples of big names who have struggled at Old Trafford.
We’ve gone back through the years and have picked out eight stars who couldn’t handle the heat during their United stint.
After chasing his signature for around two years, it’s a real shame how things have unfolded with Sancho. The 23-year-old struggled to acclimatise in his debut season and it wasn’t long before he was butting heads with Erik ten Hag.
Following his well-documented bust-up with the manager earlier this season, United were left with little choice but to offload him on loan in January.
Typically, Sancho grabbed the headlines upon his return to Borussia Dortmund with a nicely timed assist to Marco Reus.
Sancho 🤝 Reus
The substitutes combine to extend Dortmund's lead 🤩 pic.twitter.com/01fmgUTUEj
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) January 13, 2024
The winger’s two-year spell at Old Trafford was nothing short of a disaster. After being handed a highly lucrative deal, Sanchez only managed three league goals across his two seasons with the Red Devils.
“Sometimes there are things that you don’t realise until you get there, and I remember the first training session I had, I realised a lot of things,” Sanchez said during an Instagram livestream in 2020.
“After the session I got home and I told my family and my agent ‘can you not rip up the contract to go back to Arsenal?’. They laughed, I told them there’s something that doesn’t sit right, it doesn’t seem good.”
The Chilean has somewhat salvaged his career since leaving Old Trafford, having enjoyed good spells with Inter Milan and Marseille.
Angel Di Maria
Everything seemed like it was falling into place for United at the beginning of the 2014-15 season. Fans were excited about the arrival of Louis van Gaal and they managed to prize Di Maria away from Real Madrid.
However, despite an eye-catching start for the Argentine playmaker, he soon faded into the background and departed after just one season with the club.
Given his unquestionable talent, it’s a shame how his Premier League stint unfolded.
There’s an argument to be made that Zaha’s switch to Old Trafford just came too soon in his career. The dynamic winger was by no means the finished article upon his arrival in Manchester as he arrived as a fresh-faced 20-year-old.
After struggling to make much of an impression at the Theatre of Dreams, he managed to rediscover his spark upon his return to Crystal Palace.
He seems to be enjoying life in Turkey with Galatasaray these days too.
Even the most seasoned veterans can struggle to handle the heat at Old Trafford. To be fair, Falcao didn’t exactly pull up many trees during his other Premier League stint with Chelsea either.
Regardless of his struggles in England, Falcao was once considered one of the deadliest marksmen in Europe. It’s a shame his stint in the Premier League never managed to reflect that.
The historic number seven shirt can weigh players down with expectations. Like many who had gone before him, Depay struggled to handle the pressure that came along with being United’s number seven.
No doubt United fans will have been watching Depay’s career from afar since he left the club in 2017. To be fair, he’s done alright for himself since, with solid spells with Lyon, Barcelona and now Atletico Madrid.
That is a ROCKET!! 🚀🚀🚀
What a goal from Memphis 🙌 pic.twitter.com/XAc2yq1Lha
— Viaplay Sports UK (@ViaplaySportsUK) August 14, 2023
Donny van de Beek
After being one of the most sought-after midfielders in Europe during his time with Ajax, his spell at Old Trafford has been nothing short of an unmitigated disaster.
Several United managers have struggled to get a tune out of the Dutch midfielder who has only managed six Premier League starts with the Red Devils.
He was recently shipped out to Eintracht Frankfurt on loan where he can hopefully rediscover some form.
Expectations were high upon the Frenchman’s arrival at the club, especially after they had splashed £25million to lure him from Southampton.
Despite showcasing himself to be a good midfielder with the Saints, he struggled to replicate the same form in a United shirt and was offloaded after a year and a half.