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5U EM Louis van Gaal’s 26 Manchester United transfer sales and what became of them – Man Utd
June 20, 2021

Man Utd

News

Louis van Gaal’s 26 Manchester United transfer sales and what became of them

6 min read

The Louis van Gaal era at Manchester United will never be forgotten, for numerous reasons.

From the explosive press conferences, to the touchline antics, to the football that could range from the sublime to the ridiculous at Old Trafford.

Van Gaal’s two seasons in the hotseat also saw a huge number of incomings and outgoings at the club.

Here, MEN Sport runs through all the 26 players he offloaded in just two years

Angel Di Maria – Signed by Van Gaal for a British record £59.7m and sold a year later to PSG for £44.3m, the Argentine has done well in France. During his time in Paris, he’s won four Ligue 1 titles, five Coupe De Frances and four Coupe de la Ligues.

Danny Welbeck – An academy graduate that originally showed such promise, Welbeck was offloaded to Arsenal to make room for Radamel Falcao in Van Gaal’s first transfer window. Despite arriving for £16m, Welbeck struggled at the Emirates — largely due to a series of serious injuries. He had a short spell at Watford and is now with Brighton.

Javier Hernandez – ‘Chicarito’ was a fans’ favourite at United but struggled after Sir Alex Ferguson retired and was told by Van Gaal he only had a ‘one percent chance of playing’. After a loan spell at Real Madrid, Hernandez left United permanently for Bayer Leverkusen where he continued his goalscoring exploits. Now at LA Galaxy after spells at West Ham and Sevilla.



Bebe and Javier Hernandez on United’s parade through Manchester after winning the league in 2011

Jonny Evans – After nine years at United, academy graduate Evans left for West Brom as Van Gaal couldn’t promise him game time. This move proved a huge success for the Northern Ireland international as he quickly became one of the Baggies’ stand-out stars and won a big move to Leicester. He remains one of the Foxes’ most reliable players, helping them win the FA Cup in 2021.

Shinji Kagawa – Kagawa was hyped when he joined United in 2012 after two impressive years at Borussia Dortmund. However, he struggled in Manchester and was sold back to Dortmund in 2014. He’s never replicated the form that earned him a move to United and is now in Greece with PAOK after a spell at Real Zaragoza.

Robin van Persie – The Dutchman came to United to achieve something he never managed at Arsenal — winning a league title. And he didn’t have to wait long as the club claimed the Premier League in his first year at the club. After 86 appearances and 48 league goals for United, Van Persie was sold to Fenerbahce, along with Nani, as Van Gaal brought in Anthony Martial. Van Persie is now retired after finishing his career at boyhood club Feyenoord.

Nani – Once hailed as Cristiano Ronaldo’s heir, Nani forgivably never managed to fill Ronaldo’s boots but enjoyed a decent career at Old Trafford. He was sold by Van Gaal to Fenerbahce and later accused the Dutchman of treating players ‘like kids’. Following stings with Valencia, Lazio and boyhood club Sporting Lisbon, Nani is now captain of MLS side Orlando City.

Alexander Buttner – After two unfulfilling years at United, Buttner was shipped off to Dynamo Moscow, citing a lack of playing time and personal differences with Van Gaal as reasons for leaving. His most recent club was MLS outfit New England Revolution.

Wilfried Zaha – Promised so much on his arrival to Manchester but was never given the opportunity to prove himself. Moved back to Palace after two years and three loan spells and is a club legend at Selhurst Park. He’s regularly linked with another big transfer away.

Rafael – Spent seven years at the club but never managed to cement a permanent place in the United side and was subsequently sold to Lyon, before moving on to Istanbul Basaksehir.

Bebe – His sale brought an end to four years of misery in the north west and truly one of the club’s oddest transfers. His move to United proved a bit too much, too soon for a boy who’d risen from street football in Portugal. Was sold to Benfica where he made one appearance in two years, and was loaned out to Cordoba and Rayo Vallecano. He’s now back at Vallecano and performing well.

Michael Keane – Made only one appearance at United before being sold to Burnley in the winter transfer window after a successful loan spell at Turf Moor. Enjoyed two years of success at the club and became an England international, before being sold to Everton for £25m.

Patrice Evra – Van Gaal ended Evra’s eight-year career at Old Trafford when he sold the Frenchman to Serie A champions Juventus in 2014. He spent three years in Italy before joining Marseille and then West Ham a year later. Now retired and regularly seen on Sky Sports (and winding up Man City fans on Instagram).

Angelo Henriquez – Failed to make a single appearance at United before being sold to Dinamo Zagreb after a successful loan spell. Now back at boyhood club Universidad de Chile after spending a year at Atlas.

Reece James – Not the Chelsea one. Like Henriquez he never made a single appearance for United. He joined Wigan after leaving Old Trafford and is now at Doncaster after a spell at Sunderland.



Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were both released during the Louis van Gaal era
Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were both released during the Louis van Gaal era

Nemanja Vidic – Joined Inter on a free transfer after his contract expired and retired 18 months after moving to Italy.

Rio Ferdinand – Spent a year at QPR after being released on a free, before retiring after their relegation. Now a BT Sport pundit.

Darren Fletcher – Joined West Brom at the end of his contract and spent two years captaining the Baggies before joining Stoke, also on a free. He briefly moved into punditry before returning to United, initially as part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s coaching staff and now as technical director.

Anderson – After his release, played for Internacional in Brazil for three years, including a loan at Coritiba. Retired in 2019 aged just 31.

Anders Lindegaard – Snapped up by West Brom after his release but failed to make an appearance at the club. Was then loaned to Preston North End, who he joined permanently, before moving to Burnley after a year. Lindegaard joined Swedish club Helsingborg last year.

Tom Cleverley – Joined Everton at the end of his contract in a search of first-team football. Now at Watford.

Federico Macheda – The scorer of a famous goal in front of the Stretford End quickly lost his way at United and left, after a number of unsuccessful loans, for Cardiff City in 2014. He’s now scoring goals again for Greek side Panathinaikos.

Ben Amos – Reserve goalkeeper now at Charlton after spells at Bolton, Cardiff City, Charlton Athletic and Millwall.

Tom Thorpe – Without a club and hasn’t played professional football for almost three years after spells with Rotherham, Bradford, Bolton and Indian Super League side ATK.

Davide Petrucci – Has just suffered relegation from Serie B with Italian side Cosenza. Had spells at Ascoli, CFR Cluj and Çaykur Rizespor.

Vanja Milinković-Savić – The goalkeeper left United without ever playing a game. Was most recently on loan at Standard Liege from Torino.

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