Manchester United’s Jadon Sancho playing against Wolves. Molineux, August 2021.

How Man Utd’s five summer signings have fared so far this season

After Manchester United finished second in the Premier League last season, they spent around £120 million on new signings in the summer. 

Despite their outlay on new players, United have had an underwhelming start to the season and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked in November.

We’ve assessed how each of United’s summer signings has fared in their first few months at the club.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Let’s start with the big one.

After Ronaldo was linked with a controversial move to Manchester City, United sprung into action and brought him back to Old Trafford.

His return sent fans into pandemonium and the Portugal international enjoyed the dream second debut for United, scoring twice in a 4-1 win against Newcastle.

He’s since scored another 10 goals for the club in all competitions, including late winners against Villarreal and Atalanta in the Champions League.

While the 35-year-old has been criticised for his contributions off the ball, he impressed new boss Ralf Rangnick with his work rate against Crystal Palace. 

Man Utd's Cristiano Ronaldo

READ: The Cristiano Ronaldo debate: Is he the problem at Manchester United?

Raphael Varane

Varane was reportedly close to joining United in 2011 but instead spent 10 years at Real Madrid before finally heading to Old Trafford in the summer.

The France international enjoyed an impressive United debut, registering an assist and keeping a clean sheet in their win away at Wolves.

“Top, top performance,” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said after the game. “He’s good in the air, he’s so composed on the ball and he’s so experienced and nothing phases him.

“He was good in the dressing room before the game, half-time and so I’m delighted with his performance. I thought he showed his class.”

The 28-year-old was hoping to build on that promising start but groin and hamstring injuries have restricted him to just eight more appearances in all competitions.

Having conceded 20 goals in the nine games that Varane has been sidelined for, United will definitely be looking forward to his return.

Jadon Sancho

After failing to meet Borussia Dortmund’s £108million asking price in 2020, United finally agreed a deal to sign Sancho ahead of 2021-22.

The 21-year-old arrived at Old Trafford with high expectations on his shoulders but suffered a slow start to the season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

He failed to register a goal or assist in his first 14 appearances and was reportedly used a right wing-back in Solskjaer’s training sessions.

Sancho then scored two goals in three games under caretaker manager Michael Carrick, including a brilliant strike against Villarreal in the Champions League.

He will now be hoping to maintain that form for Rangnick, who is a big fan of the England international. 

Paul McShane

It may surprise a few people to hear that Varane wasn’t the only centre-back that United signed during the summer transfer window.

McShane came through United’s academy but left for West Bromwich Albion in 2006, having failed to make a first-team appearance.

After spending the 2020-21 season in League One with Rochdale, he returned to United to take up a playing coach role with their Under 23s.

“It was a no-brainer for me,” McShane told Goal in October. “To come back to Manchester United, and also to make that transition from playing to coaching, it’s a great opportunity for me.

“Last season, when I played it wasn’t enough for me to just keep turning up as a player, I felt I wanted that little bit more responsibility and to get involved with the coaching side of things, and this allows me to do that but also have the beauty of still playing.”

The 35-year-old isn’t in the first-team squad but has featured five times for the Under-23s as one of the three over-aged players.

Tom Heaton

Another former United academy graduate, Heaton left Aston Villa at the end of 2020-21 and returned to Old Trafford on a free transfer.

“That’s the plan,” Heaton told MUTV when asked if he wanted to become United’s first-choice goalkeeper. “Of course I’ve had a fair bit of experience under my belt so I think I can add perhaps a different dimension to the department.

“There’ll be a professional respect and support all the way through it. But personally, that’s the aim, everywhere I’ve been in my career you step on and try and get in the team.”

But the 35-year-old has only served as back-up to David de Gea and Dean Henderson and is yet to make his competitive debut for the club.

He has been named on the bench on a few occasions and also made one appearance for their Under-23s in Premier League 2, conceding twice in a defeat to Crystal Palace.

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