Every Manchester United transfer window since 2005/06


Having first come into the club with a minority stake in 2003, it took Malcolm Glazer just two years to own 75% of shares in Manchester United.

By the summer of 2005, the Red Devils were majority owned by the Glazer family, who had taken out a loan against the club’s assets to acquire the stake, putting United into debt for the first time since being saved in 1931.

Plenty of controversy has followed ever since and with the club’s decline on the pitch, the Glazers have continually come under fire for their running of proceedings. So, why not rank each transfer window since their majority ownership from 2005/06?

From Ronaldo and Tevez to Obertan and Owen… / Michael Regan/Getty Images

Arrivals: Antonio Valencia, Michael Owen, Gabriel Obertan, Mame Biram Diouf

Departures: Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Fraizer Campbell, Manucho, Lee Martin, Danny Simpson

Now, we appreciate that replacing Ronaldo who had left for a world record fee is a tad difficult. But Michael Owen on a free, really?

United needed a marquee arrival in 2009/10 to bolster gaping holes in the squad left by Tevez and Ronaldo’s departures. It’s a miracle that Sir Alex Ferguson ran them so close to Chelsea in the Premier League title race.

Moyes signed Fellaini on the summer deadline day, because of course he did / Michael Regan/Getty Images

Arrivals: Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata

Paul Scholes (retired)

Ferguson didn’t exactly leave David Moyes the best squad, but that wasn’t all his fault by this point.

And while Moyes was short changed there, he did himself no favours. Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara, Gareth Bale and Sami Khedira were all linked, but Fellaini’s deadline day signing and Juan Mata’s January capture was all he got.

Chicharito was a smart capture / LatinContent/Getty Images

Arrivals: Bebe, Chris Smalling, Javier Hernandez, Anders Lindegaard

Zoran Tosic, Ben Foster, James Chester

After dealing with an underwhelming 2009/10 transfer window that cost United the title, they were back with a vengeance. Except they weren’t.

‘Chicharito’ proved a huge coup for the Red Devils and quickly became a fan favourite for his super sub exploits. But other than that, this was still a largely depleted squad that Ferguson somehow dragged to a Premier League title.

Mourinho wasn’t backed at all in the summer of 2018 / Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Arrivals: Fred, Diogo Dalot, Lee Grant

Daley Blind, Sam Johnstone, Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick (retired)

After this summer, just about everyone knew Jose Mourinho’s time at United was coming to an end rather imminently.

Mourinho was vocal about his squad’s needs, particularly another centre back, as they were linked with Harry Maguire and winger Ivan Perisic. United didn’t back him, though, despite giving him a new deal, and the season fell to bits shortly after. Shambolic running of the club.

As panic signings go, Cavani has proven incredible business / Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Arrivals: Donny van de Beek, Edinson Cavani, Alex Telles, Amad, Facundo Pellistri

Chris Smalling, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Marcos Rojo, Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard

After a fine first full season in charge where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was backed sufficiently, they needed to follow up well. They just about hung in there.

After capturing Van de Beek and Telles, United dawdled and panic signed a free agent Cavani as well as two young wingers, not ready for the first team. Could pay off in the long run, but far from the best recruitment.

United wanted Larsson permanently, but couldn’t capture him / ANDREW YATES/Getty Images

Arrivals: Michael Carrick, Tomasz Kuszczak, Henrik Larsson

Ruud van Nistelrooy, David Jones, Jonathan Spector, David Bellion, Luke Steele, Eddie Johnson

Bringing in Carrick from Tottenham was exciting business from United, who continued to build a freakishly strong and versatile midfield roster.

However, they failed to replace a departing Van Nistelrooy until January. They won the league, but loaning in Henrik Larsson in January was – while insanely cool – a real sign of recruitment mishap.

A cursed image / Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Arrivals: Memphis Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Anthony Martial, Sergio Romero, Matteo Darmian

Angel di Maria, Javier Hernandez, Jonny Evans, Robin van Persie, Nani, Rafael, Angelo Henriquez, Reece James

A whirlwind summer at Old Trafford, that was nothing short of properly weird. And a touch depressing, as signings aged like milk.

Cursed memories of the ‘Schmidfield’ that proved a car crash, Angel Di Maria gone after a season, and Sergio Romero announced at midnight in the UK.

Ferguson personally scouted De Gea to ensure he was the man to replace Van der Sar – it worked / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Arrivals: Ashley Young, David de Gea, Phil Jones

John O’Shea, Gabriel Obertan, Mame Biram Diouf, Wes Brown, Danny Drinkwater, Darron Gibson, Owen Hargreaves

Plenty of deadwood cleared at the end of a title winning season, as Ferguson continued to go down the best English talents route.

Phil Jones didn’t turn out to be the second coming of Duncan Edwards, but Ashley Young was a fine servant with a wonder goal in him. That David de Gea lad, too. He didn’t do so badly replacing Edwin van der Sar after that shaky start.

Berbatov added a unique element to United’s attack / Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Arrivals: Dimitar Berbatov, Zoran Tosic, Ritchie De Laet


Departures: Gerard Pique, Chris Eagles, Mikael Silvestre, Louis Saha, Michael Barnes, Fangzhuo Dong, Ritchie Jones, Michael Lea

Losing Gerard Pique and an injury prone Louis Saha wasn’t all that bad for United – until Pique turned into a world beater, obviously.

While the arrivals weren’t cramming the reception desk at Old Trafford, snatching a prime Berbatov from Spurs was one hell of a deal. He added to an attack that was already absolutely unworldly, and made it better.

2014/15 could not have gone much worse / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Arrivals: Ander Herrera, Daley Blind, Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, Victor Valdes

Departures: Danny Welbeck, Shinji Kagawa, Alexander Buttner, Wilfried Zaha, Bebe, Patrice Evra, Federico Macheda, Davide Petrucci, Rio Ferdinand, Darren Fletcher, Anderson, Ryan Giggs (retired)

On paper, there was not a more perfect window. Deadwood out, big names in alongside a manager who had just finished third at the World Cup.

That was it, though. In FIFA Career Mode fashion, big signings flopped and the manager was looking a bit past it. Everything that could’ve gone wrong unfortunately did.

Trying to figure out how the 2017/18 season ended trophy-less / Michael Regan/Getty Images

Arrivals: Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic, Victor Lindelof, Alexis Sanchez

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Adnan Januzaj, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Guillermo Varela

When you appoint Mourinho, you have to be all in for the best results. United did that, and they were mightily close to it paying off.

Lukaku and Matic were huge additions to the starting XI and while Lindelof struggled for consistency, Mourinho made it work for the most part. Second in the Premier League and FA Cup runners up; fine margins that could’ve been solved with a better 2018/19 window.

United’s capture of Tevez was a headache, but worth it / PAUL BARKER/Getty Images

Arrivals: Carlos Tevez, Owen Hargreaves, Nani, Anderson, Rodrigo Possebon, Manucho

Departures: Gabriel Heinze, Giuseppe Rossi, Alan Smith, Kieran Richardson, Tim Howard, Phil Bardsley, Phil Marsh, Souleymane Mamam, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (retired)

Heinze was an admittedly large loss for United, but with quality draped through the squad, Ferguson was ready to charge again in arguably United’s best era.

Tevez gave United a new tactical approach, while Hargreaves could’ve been special if he had stayed fit. Nani starred from young and Anderson also looked bright as they won the Premier League and Champions League; whatever happened to him?

Written in the stars / ANDREW YATES/Getty Images

Arrivals: Robin van Persie, Shinji Kagawa, Wilfried Zaha, Nick Powell, Angelo Henriquez, Alexander Buttner

Departures: Dimitar Berbatov, Park Ji-sung, Ritchie De Laet, Tomasz Kuszczak, Zeki Fryers, Michael Owen

Clearing as much deadwood as possible in his final season in charge, Ferguson made a few solid signings as well as the obvious Van Persie capture.

The Dutchman was perfect for that moment, firing United to number 20 when needed. But that was it, and after Ferguson left, there was an ageing and depleted squad left behind with plenty of youth players left to pick up the pieces.

Vidic and Evra arrived to Manchester halfway through the season / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Arrivals: Park Ji-sung, Edwin van der Sar, Ben Foster, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra

Departures: Phil Neville, Kleberson, Roy Keane, Michael Stewart, David Poole, Steven Hogg, Roy Carroll, Ricardo, Paul Tierney, Colin Heath

Before the Glazers had truly gotten to business in transforming what was now their club, United put together a vitally important two transfer windows.

Park and Van der Sar thrived on the importance given to them by Ferguson, while the January captures of Vidic and Evra speak for themselves. Two of the greatest mid-season purchases in history. Genius.

Winning approach / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/Getty Images

Arrivals: Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Eric Bailly

Memphis Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Victor Valdes, Nick Powell, Paddy McNair, Tyler Blackett, Will Keane

In came Jose Mourinho who had been destined for the United job for so long, and following him in were four A-list stars.

Some deadwood was shifted, youthful players who weren’t quite good enough included, and in came Ibrahimovic on a free and the returning Pogba. Carabao Cup and Europa League winners, there was suddenly serious potential in this United team.

Two huge signings for a new look United / OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Arrivals: Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Daniel James, Bruno Fernandes, Odion Ighalo

Departures: Romelu Lukaku, Chris Smalling, Matteo Darmian, Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, James Wilson, Ander Herrera

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the man to finally free up a United squad full of players that didn’t fit his mould, and risk playing with a lacking squad in order to set the club on the right tracks again.

United persevered without a Lukaku replacement, but the progress made was immense. Maguire, Wan-Bissaka and Bruno Fernandes created an impactful and talented spine once more, and created a platform to build from. Now, it’s time to deliver.

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