Manchester United don’t often dip into the January market, but the window has provided them with a number of successful signings through the years (and some admittedly dogsh*t buys, too).
United have not relied on the January window as much as other Premier League clubs, perhaps due to such mixed fortunes in the transfer market at this time of year.
We’ve taken a look back at the club’s last 20 January signings, featuring some big hits and terrible misses.
Injuries prevented Saha from consistently producing his best at Old Trafford, but the striker still recorded double-figure goal campaigns in the two seasons he managed 30+ appearances.
Saha retired in 2013 after a brief spell at Lazio that everyone has forgotten, and now occasionally appears in the media.
READ: Louis Saha: A brilliant striker, but never better than when at Fulham
Vidic may have retired in 2016 following a disappointing spell at Inter, but we’re still absolutely certain he’d beat the sh*t out of us.
A definite success story on this list, Evra can now be found bravely sitting between Roy Keane and Graeme Souness in the Sky Sports studio.
READ: How Patrice Evra succeeded Gary Neville as Man Utd’s hated hero
“On arrival, he seemed a bit of a cult figure with our players,” Sir Alex Ferguson said after Larsson’s loan spell at Manchester United ended. “They would say his name in awed tones. 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.”
The striker may have been at Old Trafford for just three months, but he made a big impact.
After a second spell in charge of Helsingborg ended after just two months in 2019, he spent time working as an assistant coach to Ronald Koeman at Barcelona but left when Koeman was fired.
READ: Remembering Henrik Larsson’s brief loan spell at Manchester United
Not quite on the same level as Larsson, Manucho scored just once for United before joining Real Valladolid in 2009.
Now 37, the striker retired after leaving Spanish third-tier outfit UE Cornella in 2019.
Once a highly-rated prospect, Possebon was last noted leaving Vietnamese outfit Ho Chi Minh City after just one month after failing to impress.
He’ll always have those eight appearances for United though.
While Tosic failed to make an impact at Old Trafford, the winger carved out a more-than-decent career at CSKA Moscow after leaving the club, winning three Russian titles.
The 33-year-old spent three years back at Partizan Belgrade, the club from whom United originally signed him, and has since spent time in China and Kazakhstan.
Ritchie De Laet
Continuing the proud tradition of United prospects to play for Royal Antwerp.
READ: ‘It was priceless’: The inside story of Man Utd’s link with Royal Antwerp
It seems an awful long time ago Lindegaard was briefly usurping David de Gea as United’s first-choice goalkeeper.
Brought out of retirement in January 2012, Scholes is now working as a pundit but also had two brief spells as Salford City’s caretaker manager and a disastrous seven-game stint in the Oldham dugout.
Signed from rivals Manchester City, Veseli never made a first-team appearance for United but has carved out a career bouncing between Serie A and Serie B with Empoli and Salernitana.
“I went through so much with United, with England,” Zaha told Shortlist in 2018. “There were rumours that the reason I wasn’t playing for United was because I slept with David Moyes’s daughter, and no one attempted to clear that up. So I was fighting my demons by myself, these rumours that I knew weren’t true.
“I was dealing with this at 19; living in Manchester by myself, nowhere near anyone else, because the club had a hold over where I lived. They hadn’t given me a car, like every other player. Nothing. I’m living in this hell by myself, away from my family, and I thought, ‘If this doesn’t make me stronger, what will?’”
Given he has since thrived back at Crystal Palace, Zaha can be considered the one that got away for United.
READ: 11 players who did nothing at Man Utd but shone after leaving
Still going. Still lovely. Still got a wonderful left foot. Still quite slow.
If you thought Valdes’ time at Manchester United was strange, the former Spain goalkeeper was sacked as Barcelona Under-19 boss after just 80 days.
He’s was most recently seen managing Spanish fourth-tier side UA Horta.
Sadiq El Fitouri
El Fitouri was signed from Salford City in January 2015 after being recommended by Phil Neville.
“This minute I saw him, I thought, ‘This kid can play,’” Neville said in the documentary Class of 92. “There’s something mystique about him – he has a bit of swagger. Sometimes you get a gut feeling on a player and I had it.”
The defender failed to break into the first team at United, dropped down the leagues to join Chesterfield and has since spent time in Libya, Romania and now Sudan, where he plays for Al-Hilal Omdurman.
The moral of the story: don’t trust Phil Neville’s gut.
READ: What became of Sadiq El Fitouri, signed by Man Utd on Paul Scholes’ advice
Another strange signing, Kellett arrived at Manchester United on loan from Championship outfit Bolton in January 2015.
The midfielder was set to join Plymouth and thought Bolton boss Neil Lennon was “winding him up” when he found out about United’s interest.
He made 10 appearances for the club’s Under-21s, rather awkwardly losing in the semi-final of the Manchester Senior Cup to his parent club Bolton.
Now 27, he is currently playing for National League North side Guiseley.
He’s done alright.
READ: Seven remarkable Bruno Fernandes stats from his first year at Man Utd
After Marcus Rashford suffered a back injury in January 2020, United turned to Ighalo with a last-gasp deadline day loan move.
Despite scoring five goals in 11 cup appearances, the striker fell behind Edinson Cavani in the pecking order and his loan spell wasn’t extended beyond January 2021.
The latest player to join United, Diallo only made five senior appearances for Atalanta before completing a £19million move to Old Trafford.
“Amad has looked really comfortable and he’s settled in really well in training,” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told Manchester United’s official website in January 2021.
“It shows how technically adept he is and, of course, we’ll give him time to settle and adjust. But hopefully, we can see him on the pitch in not too long. He’s definitely done well in training.”
He’s only played nine times for United so far and there is plenty of speculation he’ll be loaned out in January 2022.
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