Ranking Man Utd’s seven best January signings, from good to great
Manchester United don’t have a great record in the January transfer market over the years – but they occasionally get it spot on.
We’ve gone through their seven most impressive buys from the winter window and ranked them from the least important to the most.
The reason we’ve stuck to seven is because the others were, well, quite sh*te. Wilfried Zaha, Zoran Tosic and Alexis Sanchez were the next players on our list, which says it all, so here are the magnificent seven instead.
7. Anders Lindegaard
Lindegaard was brought to United in 2011 and initially challenged David de Gea for the first-team jersey at Old Trafford as the Spaniard struggled with a tricky start to life in the Premier League.
De Gea eventually cemented his status as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper, while Lindegaard had to settle for a place on the bench.
After four-and-a-half years at United, the Danish international left the club in 2015, with 29 appearances and a league winners’ medal to his name.
That’s enough to get him the nod over Manucho and Rodrigo Possebon.
6. Henrik Larsson
Larsson may have only made 13 appearances for United during his brief loan spell in 2007, but he made a huge impact on the club.
The legendary striker gave United a mid-season boost after joining from Helsingborgs as they went on to win the Premier League title.
“On arrival, he seemed a bit of a cult figure with our players. They would say his name in awed tones,” Sir Alex Ferguson said.
“Cult status can vanish in two minutes if a player isn’t doing his job, yet Henrik retained that aura in his time with us. He’s been fantastic for us, his professionalism, his attitude, everything he’s done has been excellent.”
5. Paul Scholes
Technically we think this one still counts (please don’t make us put Manucho in here).
Scholes announced his retirement at the end of the 2010-11 season and United unsurprisingly struggled to replace the legendary midfielder.
Facing an injury crisis in January 2012, Ferguson turned to Scholes ahead of their FA Cup game against Manchester City.
“I think I trained once with the first team before I came back in January 2012,” Scholes told BT Sport.
“I had to sort some boots out so I went down to the local shop and bought a pair of cheap boots for £50 because I hadn’t got a sponsor. We couldn’t let Nike know because it’d be obvious I was coming back.”
Scholes came off the bench against City and played for another 18 months before hanging up his boots for a second time after winning his 11th league title.
4. Louis Saha
Saha caught United’s attention during the first half of the 2003-04 season after scoring 15 goals in 22 appearances for Fulham, earning a move to Old Trafford for £12.4million.
The striker had a great start to his United career, bagging seven goals in his first 10 starts, but his time at the club was often marred by injury problems
He still managed 42 goals in 142 appearances and won two Premier League titles, the League Cup and the Champions League before moving to Everton in 2008.
Perfect lunchtime viewing 😋
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 31, 2019
3. Juan Mata
Mata is seen as one of the nicest men in football but let’s not forget that he’s been a pretty good player as well.
United broke their transfer record to sign the Spaniard from Chelsea in 2014, but he hasn’t been able to consistently replicate his best form at Old Trafford.
The midfielder has still produced some brilliant moments and those two goals at Anfield in 2015 will live long in the memory for every United fan.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 19, 2015
2. Patrice Evra
Evra arrived from Monaco in 2006 but initially struggled to adapt to English football and had a memorably bad debut against Manchester City.
The Frenchman eventually became a mainstay in the United team and established himself as one of the best left-backs in the world.
During his nine years at United, Evra won five Premier League titles, three League Cups, the Club World Cup and the Champions League before joining Juventus in 2014.
1. Nemanja Vidic
Vidic will go down as one of Ferguson’s greatest bargain buys after United paid just £7million to sign the centre-back from Spartak Moscow in 2006.
The Serbian built a formidable partnership with Rio Ferdinand at the heart of the defence and the pair played a key role in United’s success.
After making 300 appearances and winning 10 major honours in his eight-and-a-half years at Old Trafford, Vidic signed for Inter Milan in 2014.