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k5 w9 Solskjaer’s 10 signings at Manchester United ranked from worst to best – Man Utd
June 18, 2021

Man Utd

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Solskjaer’s 10 signings at Manchester United ranked from worst to best

6 min read

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s transfer record since he took over as Manchester United boss is superb.

In just over two years, the Norwegian has offloaded a number of older squad players, while simultaneously bringing in several top-quality players – including the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Harry Maguire.

Solskjaer’s transfer dealings have sparked a clear improvement at the club since he took over at Old Trafford, with the Reds improving each season under his stewardship.

United will have to be shrewd in the transfer window again in order to challenge for trophies next term. But which of his ten buys in the past two years have been the best?

Here, we rank Solskjaer’s ten signings from worst to best based on what they have shown so far at Old Trafford.

10. Facundo Pellistri

It seems harsh to have a promising 19-year-old who hasn’t even featured for the club in last place, but that is just a testament to the impact of Solskjaer’s other signings.

Pellistri signed for United last summer, joining from Uruguayan side Penarol.

The tricky winger featured a number of times for United’s under-23 side before joining Deportivo on loan in January, and featured 12 times for the La Liga team.

9. Donny van de Beek

Donny van de Beek is perhaps the only player on this list who has been a real letdown since his move to Old Trafford.

The midfielder’s signing was lauded by many as an expert piece of business from United last summer when Van de Beek made the move from Ajax, and he hit the ground running with a goal against Crystal Palace on his Premier League debut.

However, the Dutchman started just four league games in his debut campaign, finding himself behind the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba in the pecking order and when he played he often looked lost on the pitch, going missing for large stretches.

The 24-year-old will hope he can play his way back into form during this summer’s European Championship and impress Solskjaer, who will be watching closely.

8. Odion Ighalo

Former Watford striker Odion Ighalo was a fan favourite during his brief stint in a United shirt.

The Nigerian frontman was signed on a loan deal in the January 2020 transfer window, coming in to fill in for the injured Marcus Rashford.

Ighalo was exactly what United needed, a seasoned No. 9 with bags of experience and he hit the ground running, netting five goals including a thunderous half volley against LASK in the Europa League.

7. Alex Telles

Porto defender Alex Telles was brought in last summer in a deal worth £15million, one which many members of the United faithful assumed would signal the end of Luke Shaw as the starting left-back.

However, the signing of Telles proved to be clever squad management from Solskjaer as the Brazilian’s presence in the squad spurred Shaw on to his best form for the club, as he claimed the Players’ Player of the Year award for the 2020/21 campaign.

Furthermore, when Telles has filled in for Shaw he has been an able replacement, combining a blend of defensive nous with a fantastic whipped cross. United now have two top-class left-backs among their ranks.

6. Dan James

Dan James joined from Swansea in 2019 for £15million.

The Welshman then had no problem acclimatising to life at United, netting on his debut in a 4-0 demolition of Chelsea.

At times James has struggled with consistency, but he doesn’t let his head drop, often springing after seemingly lost causes in order to win the ball back for his side.

Considering expectations and limited game time James has been a solid acquisition, bagging nine goals and eight assists so far for United.

5. Amad

It may seem strange to place a youngster who has played just eight games for United so high on this list but that is testament to the incredible talent that former Atalanta starlet Amad possesses.

The 18-year-old agreed to sign for United last summer in a deal that would see him move to England in January of this year, a signing that many Serie A experts lauded as an astute piece of business from Solskjaer due to Amad’s sky-high potential.

Amad opened his scoring account for United earlier this year, netting an incredible header in the 1-1 draw with AC Milan in March.

The thought of having Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Amad as United’s front three for the next decade is a mouth-watering prospect for United fans.

4. Aaron Wan Bissaka

United have struggled to find a top-class, defensively sound right-back since Gary Neville’s retirement.

However, it seems Solskjaer has addressed this problem for the foreseeable future with the signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Wan-Bissaka was signed from Crystal Palace in the summer of 2019 for a fee in the region of £50million, a sum many considered to be too steep for a 21-year-old who had made less than 50 senior appearances throughout his career.

Any doubters have since been proven wrong as the Croydon-born defender has been a stalwart in Solskjaer’s side over the last two years, featuring 100 times.

Wan-Bissaka is heralded by many as the best right-back in the Premier League when it comes to one-v-one defending and his stats go a long way toward proving this, averaging three tackles, two interceptions and three blocks a game last season.

The 23-year-old has also improved his offensive output in recent months, registering 70 shot-creating actions and six assists across all competitions during the 2020/21 campaign.


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3. Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani joined United on a free transfer last October in what proved to be one of the signings of the season.

The Uruguayan has demonstrated why he has been one of the most consistent strikers of his generation, showcasing his intelligent movement and deadly finishing consistently in a United shirt.

The seasoned front man has netted 17 goals and five assists across 39 games since his move to Old Trafford, incredible numbers for a player many critics believed was over the hill.

The 34-year-old has the rare blend of exceptional talent and relentless hard work, qualities that have made him an instant fan favourite in Manchester.

2. Harry Maguire

Many eyebrows were raised when United paid Leicester £80million for Harry Maguire in the summer of 2019.

Maguire has been a consistent rock at the back for United, offering leadership in a defence that is often unorganised in his absence.

Furthermore, since the 28-year-old’s United debut he has kept a total of 26 Premier League clean sheets, more than any other outfield player has managed in the division during that time.

Maguire was sorely missed in last week’s Europa League final defeat by Villarreal as United’s poor set-piece defending illustrated just how much they rely on Maguire to organise the defence.

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1. Bruno Fernandes

It’s hard to think of many players who have made as instantaneous an impact as Bruno Fernandes has managed in his 18 months as a United player.

The Portugal international has transformed United into a top side again, combining excellent vision with superb finishing that you wouldn’t expect from a midfielder.

Fernandes registered 12 goals and seven assists in his debut campaign, statistics that are even more impressive considering he didn’t join until January.

The 26-year-old then went from strength to strength in his first full season in England, shattering the record for most goal contributions by a midfielder in the Premier League era, registering a whopping 46 goals and assists across all competitions, placing him ahead of Frank Lampard who managed 43 in the 2009/10 season.

Fernandes is clearly Solskjaer’s best signing as United boss.

Do you agree with our rankings? Let us know in the comments section.

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