The 14 fringe players sold by Man Utd for a fee since the start of 2016-17

Quick Reads

One of Manchester United‘s biggest problems in recent years has been an inability to get rid of the deadwood, but they haven’t always failed in that regard.

Sure, the club’s outgoings far outstrip the money they have brought in for… let’s call them ‘non-essential players’. However, there have been a few players who have helped line the club’s pockets when they didn’t have a great deal to offer on the pitch.

Here’s what has happened to the 14 fringe players to move on for a fee since the start of the 2016-17 season.

Ashley Young

The most recent departure, Young joined former United team-mates Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez at Inter Milan after completing a £1.5million move.

United’s one-time captain racked up more than 200 games for the club but made just two starts in the Premier League after early November and was likely to move on at the end of the season regardless were it not for the Serie A interest.

The England international made his Inter debut against Cagliari in Serie A, playing 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw.

Matteo Darmian

It’s weird to think Darmian was still a United player until the summer, but it turns out he played a whole 84 Premier League minutes in 2019.

The Italy international was another Serie A departure, making a £1.4million move to Parma where he has been able to link up with former Premier League faces Gervinho and Andreas Cornelius.

He has played in the majority of his new team’s games as they find themselves pushing for Europe.

Daley Blind

United essentially got their money back for Blind when he returned to Ajax, setting the Dutch side back £14.4million.

After playing just seven league games in his final United season, the Netherlands international defender was a regular as Ajax made it within a minute of making the Champions League final.

He even scored his first career hat-trick, while his season-long tally of six goals matched the number he netted in four years at Old Trafford.

Sam Johnstone

United have too many goalkeepers if anything, with on-loan Dean Henderson impressing at Sheffield United on loan and putting them in safe hands if and when David de Gea moves on.

This meant one had to go permanently, and Johnstone was that man, joining West Brom for £6.5million after impressing on loan at Aston Villa in the Championship.

Despite never playing a senior game for United, the Englishman has excelled under Slaven Bilic and could well be set for a long-awaited Premier League debut next season.

Marouane Fellaini 

One of the first players moved on by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Fellaini moved to Shandong Luneng in the Chinese Super League after playing just 31 minutes under the Norwegian.

The midfielder, who moved for just north of £6million according to reports, has been scoring at a rate of one goal every three games in China.

It’s even prompted talk of a Premier League return, with David Moyes’ West Ham United mentioned as a possible destination.

READ: Marouane Fellaini was the glue holding the Premier League together

Adnan Januzaj 

Januzaj’s breakthrough 2013-14 season feels like such a long time ago.

After a disappointing time under Louis van Gaal, with just five league appearances in his last full season, Januzaj was loaned out and then sold by Jose Mourinho, joining Real Sociedad for just under £8million.

The Belgian did enough in his first season in Spain to earn a World Cup spot and has been solid if unspectacular since.

Morgan Schneiderlin

Schneiderlin was almost immediately exiled by Mourinho, playing just 11 league minutes under the Portuguese before moving to Everton in January 2017 for an initial £20million.

He started strongly at Goodison Park, but “a difficult moment in his personal life”, in the words of former Toffees boss Marco Silva, limited Schneiderlin’s involvement last season.

He has been back in the mix this season, starting for Carlo Ancelotti in the recent draw with Newcastle United.

Memphis Depay

United made a loss on Memphis, who joined Lyon for just shy of £15million after not fitting into the club’s plans once Louis van Gaal had moved on.

The Dutchman has returned to something resembling his PSV form, though, hitting 14 goals in 17 games this season.

Unfortunately, serious injury has come at the worst possible time, keeping him out of Lyon’s Champions League clash with Juventus and putting his Euro 2020 involvement in doubt.

Paddy McNair 

McNair saw a fair bit of action under Van Gaal, but when Sunderland came calling with the likelihood of more first-team football, the Ulsterman was off.

Sadly, two straight relegations meant the end of his time at the Stadium of Light, with Middlesbrough taking him back up to the Championship in 2018.

Since joining Boro, McNair has been able to return to midfield after being forced into defensive duties at Old Trafford. Oh, and he’s scored his first Northern Ireland goals in the interim.

 

Donald Love

Love moved to Sunderland at the same time as McNair, in a £5.5million double deal, and stuck around a little longer.

The Scottish under-21 international spent three years in the North East, but injury issues put paid to his chances and he left on a free transfer in 2019.

Love was picked up by Shrewsbury Town and was part of the team that came back to earn a draw with Liverpool in the FA Cup fourth round.

Tyler Blackett 

Blackett never really recovered from his red card against Leicester in the 2014-15 season, at least not in Manchester United terms, but he’s bounced back a bit to become a Championship-level defender.

After a pretty meh loan spell at Celtic, Blackett moved to Reading for £1.8millon in 2016 and has racked up more than 100 games for the club.

This is despite the Royals changing manager so frequently that Blackett has featured under four permanent bosses and one caretaker in less than four years.

Will Keane

While brother Michael carves out a Premier League career, Will Keane is now a couple of rungs further down the football pyramid.

The striker left United for Hull for around £1million back in 2016, having played his third and final game for the club in a 3-0 FA Cup win at Shrewsbury, but never really caught fire at the KCOM Stadium.

He joined Ipswich on loan for the second half of last season, and despite failing to help them survive the drop he moved to Portman Road permanently over the summer and has scored six goals this season.

Sean Goss

After featuring in some friendlies but never in a competitive game, Goss was moved on to QPR in 2016 for around half a million quid.

Things never really worked out for him in London, with Steve McClaren handing the midfielder barely an hour of football last season before sending him out on loan for a second time.

He moved to Shrewsbury over the summer, joining Love in the starting line-up for that Liverpool game.

James Weir

Weir made his Premier League debut on the same day as Marcus Rashford, coming on for Ander Herrera at the end of that 3-2 win over Arsenal, but that proved to be his only United game.

The midfielder moved to Hull on a cut-price deal in the summer of 2016 but didn’t earn a single league start in his three years on the Tigers’ books.

He joined Bolton in 2019, one of a number of new players to move to the club after their relegation, and is part of the squad attempting to claw its way back from a hefty points deduction


More Manchester United

Mason Greenwood is making Man Utd boring again…and that’s exciting

Can you name Alex Ferguson’s 30 most-used players at Manchester United?

Ranking Man Utd’s 29 transfers under Ed Woodward from worst to best

Where are they now? Manchester United’s last 17 January signings