Below is a top 10 list of the worst signings Manchester United have made. On this list there are 3 of the 2003 summer signings Ferguson made, but I’m sure all United fans will agree that I will take signing those 3 that summer as another arrival then was a certain Mr Cristiano Ronaldo.
Sneaking in at number 10 is Ashley Young. Despite a promising start to life at Old Trafford with a great performance in the unforgettable 8-2 win over Arsenal he hasn’t live up to that initial promise. Young was signed by Ferguson to try and replace Giggs’ legs after he had moved into the centre of the park but it just hasn’t worked out. His initial trickery, pace and versatility looked the perfect fit for United but I think the task of playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world has swallowed him up. His performances have dropped so much that the game seems to bypass him. A player David Moyes needs to move on in his post-Ferguson shake up.
4 years, 58 appearances, 8 goals. Not the most memorable career a player has had at United. Was he under pressure because of his Dad? Maybe. Did he struggle to adjust to the physical nature of the Premier League in comparison to La Liga? Maybe. But he never settled into life at United, mainly because of the competition that was ahead of him. Jordi could play across midfield or behind the striker but at the time he was at the club players such as Beckham, Giggs, Scholes, Cantona and Cole were all ahead of him in the pecking order. This lack of regular first team action led to inconsistent performances, which can’t be his fault, but he was given more than enough chances to prove himself. None of which he took. United let his contract expire and he drifted back off to Spain.
He was a world cup winner and was the perfect age at 24 when we signed him. I remember going to watch him in his first game for the reserves and it was constant one, two touch football from him and I thought we had a player on our hands here. However, Ferguson admits he should have checked his background prior to signing him as it was later found out that he had married a 16 year old girl at the age of 23. More of a rushed signing than failure.
Eric Djemba Djemba
Another one of those 2003 summer signings. With Roy Keane’s powers beginning to wane Ferguson was in the market for someone who could cover this gap. He had watched Djemba-Djemba for Nantes when he was playing week in week out at a high level. He believed that with a bit of extra coaching he could blossom into a Manchester United player, it wasn’t to be. He only made 35 appearances for United, which isn’t a bad thing to have on your CV by any stretch of the imagination, but it just didn’t work out. He ended up being shipped off to Aston Villa, where again he made minimal impact.
David Bellion never looked liked a Manchester United player from the moment he stepped through the door. A player who was blessed with frightening pace but not an ounce of technical skill to go with it. Ferguson admits that he was never bought to become a mainstay in the starting XI but to fill a gap in the squad at a good price. In the end he was sold to Nice for a profit with further money made when they sold him to Bordeaux.
Yet another goalkeeper on this list which proved the immense difficultly in trying to replace Peter Schmeichel. Tiabi was brought in from Venezia for £4.5 million and immediately impressed on his debut against Liverpool with a man of the match performance. Sadly things went down hill from there and he only made another 3 appearances for the club including conceding 5 against Chelsea. His confidence shot he was quickly moved on and the search continued.
A £7million shot in the dark from Ferguson after being tipped off to his talent by one of his scouts in Portugal as well as the knowledge that Real Madrid were about to go in for him. The only player Ferguson signed without having seen him play. Do you think he regrets that? Bebe has two good feet, is strong, powerful and fast, all the attributes you need in modern day football but he just never made the cut. Whether he was over awed at how quickly he had made it from playing street football to gracing one of the best grounds in world football I don’t know. He is still young and could still prove me wrong as at the time of writing he is still on the books at Old Trafford, but I somehow doubt it.
Bosnich was given the unenviable task of replacing one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time in Peter Schmeichel. He was never up to it. Prior to his signing Ferguson had his doubts as he had watched him training and thought he didn’t have the fitness levels to do the job, he even tried to pull out of the signing and go after a certain Edwin Van Der Sar, however Martin Edwards had already shaken hands with Bosnich and refused to go back on his word. They worked hard to make this signing a success but Bosnich wasn’t interested and having got into some sort of fitness immediately relapsed. A poor signing, bar a few standout performances.
Although technically not a signing as he was only at United on a trial basis he is worth a mention in this top 10 list of worst signings. Having only made 2 first team appearances for the club, mainly down to an injury crisis which took out the majority of central defenders at the club at the time of his trial, he was quickly ushered out ending up at Copenhagen in Denmark. Yet another signing Ferguson admits to get stick about, Patrice Evra for one loves a quip at the gaffer about the fact that Prunier played underneath him.
Who? You may ask. Exactly. Raplh Milne has become a cult hero at Old Trafford for how bad he was. His name is legendary between fans as well as insiders at the club. Ferguson admitted to being constantly ribbed by his backroom staff at Old Trafford about the success of the signing. “Hey boss, we’re struggling a bit, we need another Ralphy Milne”. 30 appearances, 3 goals, hardly set the pulse racing.