Ranking Jose Mourinho’s 11 signings for Man Utd from worst to best

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Despite spending over £350million on new signings, Jose Mourinho failed to live up to expectations during his two and a half years at Manchester United

Mourinho won the Community Shield, EFL Cup and Europa League in 2016-17 but was then sacked after a disastrous start to his third season at Old Trafford.

We’ve taken a look at the 11 first-team signings he made at United and ranked them from worst to best.

11. Alexis Sanchez

The signing that came to define Mourinho’s reign at United, Sanchez was always going to be in last place here.

Despite reportedly earning £400,000 a week, he looked like a shadow of his former self at Old Trafford, scoring just five goals in 45 appearances. 

The Chile international was later shipped out on loan to Inter Milan and then made the move permanent in 2020, receiving a huge pay-off in the process.

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READ: Alexis Sanchez & the tragedy of seeing great players reduced to punchlines

10. Lee Grant

Since joining United from Stoke City for £1.5million in 2018, Grant has acted as the back-up goalkeeper, making just two first-team appearances.

Despite now being behind Dean Henderson, David de Gea and Tom Heaton in the pecking order, the 38-year-old recently signed a contract extension until the end of 2021-22.

He is reportedly a key figure in the dressing room and will continue to work towards his coaching badges during the season.

9. Diogo Dalot

Once regarded as one of the most promising young defenders in Europe, Dalot joined Mourinho at United in a £19million deal in 2018.

“I think he is one of the best coaches ever and for me, it is a dream come true to be alongside him and to learn from him. For me, it is very good,” Dalot said in December 2018.

But he made just six first-team appearances under his compatriot and has since been replaced by Aaron Wan-Bissaka at Old Trafford.

The 22-year-old spent 2020-21 on loan at AC Milan and has been linked with a permanent move to the Serie A side, with United reportedly planning a move for Kieran Trippier.

8. Eric Bailly

Mourinho’s first signing at United, Bailly became an immediate fan favourite and enjoyed a really promising debut season in 2016-17.

But a series of injury problems have seen him fall out of favour, restricting him to just 28 Premier League appearances in the last three seasons.

With United looking to sign Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane this summer, the Ivory Coast international now faces an uncertain future at Old Trafford.

READ: 15 times Man Utd’s Eric Bailly was the funniest player in the world

7. Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Having won the Bundesliga Player of the Year award in 2015-16, expectations were high when Mkhitaryan completed a £26million move to United.

While the Armenia international played an integral role in their Europa League success in 2017, he struggled for consistency and failed to adapt to life in the Premier League.

The 32-year-old had another underwhelming spell at Arsenal before joining Serie A side Roma in 2020, where he will now reunite with Mourinho.

6. Nemanja Matic

After working with Matic at Chelsea, Mourinho decided to bring the Serbia international to United in a £40million deal in the summer of 2017.

He became a near ever-present in midfield during Moutinho’s final 18 months at Old Trafford but has never really recaptured the form he had shown at Stamford Bridge.

Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the 32-year-old enjoyed an extended run in the side after lockdown but now finds himself on the fringes of the first team due to his lack of mobility in the middle of the park.

5. Fred

Signed for £47million in 2018, Fred endured a disastrous debut season at United amid reports that Mourinho never really wanted him.

But he has looked a completely different player under Solskjaer, finally showing why United were keen to spend so much to bring him in from Shakhtar.

The Brazil international is now one of the first names on the team sheet, making 96 appearances in all competitions over the last two seasons.

4. Romelu Lukaku

After Zlatan Ibrahimovic suffered a serious knee injury in 2017, Lukaku joined United in a £75million deal and spearheaded Mourinho’s attack.

The Belgium international scored a respectable 42 goals in 96 games during his two seasons at United, but 11 of those came in his first 10 games, making the drop-off notable.

He became a much-maligned figure at Old Trafford in 2018-19 and then decided to join Inter Milan, where he has rediscovered his best form.

3. Victor Lindelof

Brought in from Benfica in 2017, Lindelof showed glimpses of his talent but made a series of high-profile errors in his debut season at United.

The Sweden international turned things around under Solskjaer and has formed a strong defensive partnership with Harry Maguire, although Mourinho isn’t entirely convinced.

“Lindelof is very, very good in some aspects of the game,” Mourinho told Sky Sports in 2019. “But he can be bullied in the one-on-one in the box, he’s not especially good in the air and Maguire has that kind of presence and physicality that is very, very important.”

2. Paul Pogba

Four years after leaving United for Juventus on a free transfer, Pogba made a highly-anticipated return to the club in 2016 in an £89million deal.

He won the League Cup and scored the opener in the Europa League final in 2016-17 before his relationship with Mourinho turned sour.

The public feud divided fans and pundits alike, but the France international has looked among the best midfielders in Europe during Solskjaer’s reign.

We’re sure that Mourinho would still have him a lot lower on this list.

READ: A timeline of Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho’s turbulent relationship

1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Ibrahimovic joined United as a 34-year-old free agent amid doubts from some whether he could make an impact on the Premier League.

The striker silenced his doubters and scored 28 goals in all competitions in 2016-17, including the winner in the Community Shield and a crucial brace in the League Cup final.

“I conquered England – it took three months,” the self-assured Ibrahimovic told United’s official website in January 2017.

While a serious knee injury in April 2017 ultimately curtailed his United career, he has still been one of their best signings in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.


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