LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19:  Anderson of Manchester United gestures to teammates during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Manchester United at Craven Cottage on December 19, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)

12 of the Worst Players Signed by Manchester United in the Premier League Era

With a record 13 league titles to their name, there has been no club more successful since the Premier League was founded in 1992 than Manchester United. Even though recent years have not been too kind to them, they have remained as one of the most attractive clubs in the world, and are seemingly able to entice almost any player to join them at Old Trafford.


There have been countless phenomenal signings, but there have also been several catastrophic ones. Here are 12 of Manchester United's worst signings in the Premier League era.

12. Memphis Depay

The Dutchman joined the club in 2015 for a reported £25m and was billed as the team's next superstar. Comparisons had been made between Memphis Depay and Cristiano Ronaldo, and his Eredivisie form suggested that the Red Devils might have struck gold.


Unfortunately, things did not work out for Depay. He found himself making crucial mistakes and often struggled to make the starting lineup. With Ronaldo's number seven on the back of his shirt, Depay netted just seven goals in his 53 appearances for the club, and he never looked close to becoming the next Old Trafford hero.


He was sold to Lyon after only 18 months, but United retained a buy-back clause in the deal. However, his performances in the Premier League suggest that they will be reluctant to activate it.

11. Owen Hargreaves

United took a huge gamble when they opted to pay Bayern Munich £17m to bring Owen Hargreaves to England in 2007, given the midfielder was recovering from a serious leg break. Unsurprisingly, the risk did not pay off.


In the short term, it appeared as though Hargreaves would be yet another smart bit of business by the club. He helped the club to both Premier League and Champions League glory in his first season, but his United career fell apart shortly after.


He made just five more appearances for the club over the next three years as he struggled greatly with numerous injuries. His nightmare spell at Old Trafford was brought to an end in 2011, when he was granted a free transfer to rivals Manchester City.

10. William Prunier

The Frenchman's Manchester United career was short-lived, but it was still disastrous enough to justify his place on this list. He made just two appearances for the club during a brief spell during the 1995/96 season as Sir Alex Ferguson looked to add some continental flair to his defence.


With United in a defensive crisis, William Prunier was thrown into the team against Queens Park Rangers. His display was impressive, but he is most famous for his second (and final) United appearance.


Against Tottenham, Prunier suffered through one of the most humiliating performances in Premier League history. He found himself constantly out of position as United were emphatically beaten, and is widely regarded as one of the side's worst ever players.

9. Juan Sebastian Veron

Juan Sebastian Veron became the Premier League's most expensive player when he joined United in 2001 for a reported £24.3m. The Argentinian midfielder was known for his playmaking abilities, whilst also boasting an impressive physicality. However, you would be forgiven for not noticing that about Veron during his time in England.


He found himself completely bypassed by the speed and power of the English game, often looking utterly helpless in the heart of United's midfield. Veron was the subject of much criticism, prompting Sir Alex Ferguson to unleash an expletive-laden rant towards the media in defence of his player.


Truthfully, Veron was a failed signing. He failed to adapt his game and made the side considerably weaker. He was eventually sold to Chelsea after only a few years in Manchester, where he again failed to impress. He was simply not cut out for the Premier League.

8. Jose Kleberson

Jose Kleberson was famously unveiled as a Manchester United player alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, but their careers went in completely different directions. He was a breakout star of the 2002 World Cup with Brazil, and it was United who won the race for the youngster the following year.


He was signed as a potential upgrade on the disastrous Juan Sebastian Veron, but Kleberson's time at the club was almost identical to Veron's. 


He failed to exert his influence on matches and looked nothing like the star of Brazil's famous victory over England at the World Cup. After two years and 30 bitterly disappointing performances, Kleberson was shipped off to Besiktas, and after a spell back in Brazil, ended his career in the lower leagues of American football.

7. Anderson

The Brazilian midfielder emerged as one of Europe's hottest prospects with Porto in 2006. He eventually joined United in 2007 for around £20m, and was viewed as a future star. He even won the Golden Boy award in 2008, proving just how impressive he had been.


He is yet another example of a central midfielder who failed to adapt to life in England. He barely improved from his days as a youngster, and he struggled greatly with fitness. Anderson often returned from injuries overweight, greatly reducing his involvement in the team.


Somehow, he remained with the club until he was granted a free transfer back to Brazil in 2015. His 181 appearances for the club were largely underwhelming, and he left for Internacional as a Premier League failure. 

6. Bebe

Despite never having seen him play, Sir Alex Ferguson opted to hand over around £7m for Bebe in 2010. Instead of leaving on loan, the club chose to keep Bebe around the first team in an attempt to prove himself to the club.


In his seven appearances, all he proved was that he was nowhere near good enough to play for Manchester United. He did manage to score twice, but never threatened to develop into a key player for the team.


Disappointing loan spells in Turkey and Portugal followed, before he was eventually sold to Benfica in 2014. He is certainly one of the most bizarre signings in United's history.

5. Wilfried Zaha

Truth be told, Wilfried Zaha was a smart signing for United in 2013. He had emerged as an impressive Premier League talent with Crystal Palace with astronomical potential, which prompted the club to spend around £15m to acquire his services.


Unfortunately, he struggled to adjust to life in Manchester. His relationship with manager David Moyes was poor, whilst malicious rumours about his personal life refused to disappear. He found himself consistently out of the squad, making just four appearances before leaving the club on loan.


He worked hard to rebuild his reputation with both Cardiff City and Crystal Palace, before returning to the latter on a permanent basis in 2015. He has since developed into a star in the Premier League, but simply could not perform for Manchester United.

4. Zoran Tosic

Zoran Tosic joined United in 2009 for around £7m, with the hope that he would become a future star at Old Trafford. He did become a key player, but only for the club's reserve side.


He was afforded just 79 minutes across five matches for the first team, before he was eventually shipped out on loan. He enjoyed an impressive spell in the Bundesliga with Koln, but it was not enough to force his way into the lineup in Manchester.


Tosic admitted that he had expected to feature more prominently for Manchester United upon his return, but grew frustrated at his lack of opportunities. He was eventually sold to CSKA Moscow after failing to make any impact in England.

3. Massimo Taibi

Massimo Taibi is another of those who only lasted a short while in Manchester. He made just four appearances, but has certainly gone down in Premier League infamy after one incredibly disappointing performance.


A tame effort from Southampton's Matt Le Tissier somehow managed to slip between Taibi's legs, in what has become one of the most well-known moments in Premier League history. He also played a part in an emphatic 5-0 defeat to Chelsea, which ended United's 29-game unbeaten streak.


This was the final straw for the club, who quickly sold Taibi to Italian side Reggina. Even though his time in England was brief, he certainly made his mark on the Premier League.

2. Eric Djemba-Djemba

The young Cameroon international was touted as the heir to Roy Keane's throne at the club, with his tough-tackling style enticing United in the summer of 2003. He was relatively unknown upon his arrival in England, but is famous for all the wrong reasons now.


He made his aggressive style known in England during his 18 months with the club, but failed to maintain any consistent form. He never looked close to the level of Keane or Paul Scholes, but still managed to make 39 appearances for United.


The Djemba-Djemba experiment was brought to an end in 2005 when United accepted defeat and sold the Cameroonian to Aston Villa. Since then, he has represented a further ten clubs, spending time in Qatar, India and Indonesia.

1. Angel Di Maria

Angel Di Maria was one of Europe's top wingers during his time at Real Madrid, prompting United to hand over almost £60m to lure him to Old Trafford, which was an astronomical fee in 2014.


For one reason or another, Di Maria simply could not reproduce his impressive form in England. Manager Louis van Gaal is often blamed for stifling the Argentine's creativity, and issues away from football contributed to Di Maria's struggles. His house was targeted by burglars, and he never had the chance to settle in England.


He failed to travel with the squad for the following pre-season, with van Gaal admitting he did not know why Di Maria was not with the team. Shortly after, he was sold to Paris Saint-Germain, but his tenure in the Premier League is regarded as one of the most disappointing of all time.