Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first trophy at Manchester United remains elusive, and there’s been much debate over how much progress the club has made since his appointment.
However, it’s important to remember the squad the Norwegian inherited from his predecessor, Jose Mourinho, as Solskjaer was tasked with clearing out United’s hefty wage bill.
It’s fair to say Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Daniel James and Bruno Fernandes have all been recent signings that have been relatively successful at United.
Of course, Fernandes would clearly be the pick of the transfers from Solskjaer ‘s reign, but it’s also interesting to scrutinise the players he’s sold or let go across his tenure, so here we’ve taken a look at those players and how they’re doing now.
Sign up to get even more from our Man United coverage
We want your views, Reds. You can become even more involved with our Man United coverage by signing up. This will unlock a whole host of things – including joining the comments and taking part in our special Q&As, where you can speak directly to our reporters about what’s happening at Old Trafford this week and beyond.
After spending five years with United, Herrera achieved cult hero status at Old Trafford. The Spaniard was tenacious when playing in the centre of midfield for United and never hid away from a challenge.
Herrera left United on a free transfer in July 2019, joining PSG on a five-year contract, and started in the 2020 Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
However, while initially featuring mostly on the bench since Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival at the club, Herrera finished the season strongly, although he couldn’t prevent the French side from finishing runners-up in Ligue 1 this term.
Valencia won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups, three Community Shields and the Europa League in his decade spent with United.
The former United captain was outstanding for the club at right-back, but it was the correct decision from Solskjaer to allow him to leave on a free at the end of the 2018/19 season.
After being released by United, Valencia signed for Ecuadorian club LDU Quito. He has since moved on, though, and at 35-years-old he last played for Querétaro in Mexico before making the decision to retire this month.
“Wigan was a unique experience, and then God gave me the opportunity to join Manchester United. I will never forget everything I experienced at Old Trafford,” Valencia said when announcing his retirement.
“I will never forget every goal, every trophy and the wonderful fans.”
Perhaps the one that got away, Lukaku has thrived at Inter Milan since leaving United for £74m in August 2019, further enhancing his reputation as one of Europe’s finest strikers.
While the transfer looked sensible at the time, it’s hard not to look at Lukaku’s current goal-scoring exploits without thinking United may have parted ways with the Belgian too soon.
Lukaku has 64 goals in 95 appearances for Inter, surpassing his United goal haul despite playing fewer times for the Italian club, and he fired Inter to the Serie A title this season, helping end their 11-year wait for the Scudetto.
There is an argument that Lukaku simply needed a move away to reignite his career, though.
The signing of Sanchez is one of the most underwhelming transfers United have made in the last decade, with the Chilean promising so much yet delivering so little.
Sanchez scored just five goals for United, looking a shadow of the player that Arsenal sold.
After a loan spell at Inter Milan for the 2019/20 season, Sanchez joined Antonio Conte’s side permanently in August 2020. He scored a total of seven goals for the Serie A winners this campaign.
It’s incredible Darmian spent four years with United – a damning indictment of the club’s recruitment at the time – as he never really convinced he was up to the level that was required at the club.
United signed Darmian for a reported fee of around £13m, although they recouped little of that when the right-back departed to Parma in 2019.
Interestingly enough, Darmian joined Inter Milan on a season-long loan for the 2020/21 campaign and won the title alongside Lukaku and Sanchez.
Yeah, there’s definitely a recurring theme here with United’s misfits.
There’s no denying Young was an excellent servant to United in his nine years spent at the club.
After 192 appearances for the Reds, some of those as club captain, Young’s United career came to an end in the 2020 January transfer window.
The converted left-back joined Inter Milan for a fee of £1.28m, and despite being 35-years-old, Young has played 34 times across all competitions this season, playing a vital role in the club’s Serie A triumph.
After joining United from Fulham, Smalling spent 10 years in Manchester, making over 200 appearances in his time at Old Trafford.
He joined Roma on a season-long loan for the 2019/20 season, and after impressing Paulo Fonseca the deal was made permanent for an initial fee of £13.6m.
Smalling struggled for fitness this season at Roma, making just 21 appearances in all competitions for the Wolves, but he played in both legs of the Europa League semi-final against United.
Fellaini was a divisive figure in the North West, with his style not traditionally typical of a United player, but he was certainly effective at the unglamorous side of the game.
His departure in January 2019 to Chinese club Shandong Luneng was symbolic in many ways, with Solskjaer ushering in a new era at United. The towering Belgian has scored 23 goals in 62 appearances in China, but he’s still without his trademark afro haircut.
Borthwick-Jackson joined United’s Academy at the age of six and progressed through the youth ranks to make his senior debut in 2015 under Louis van Gaal.
After numerous loan spells away from the club, playing for Wolves, Leeds, Scunthorpe, Tranmere and Oldham, he was released when his contract expired in June 2020.
Following his release, Borthwick-Jackson joined Oldham on a permanent basis, and he’s made 35 appearances this campaign for the League Two side.
The impressively versatile Fosu-Mensah played for United’s youth teams before making his professional debut in 2016 under Van Gaal, just like Borthwick-Jackson. The former United boss was a huge admirer of the Fosu-Mensah, but he struggled to consolidate his position under Mourinho and Solskjaer.
After loan spells at Crystal Palace and Fulham, the Dutchman completed a permanent transfer away from United in this year’s January window, joining Bayer Leverkusen.
Fosu-Mensah made seven appearances in all competitions since his move to the German club but unfortunately suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in early March, and he’s now sidelined for a lengthy period.
Rojo is one of many United players that overstayed their welcome at the club.
The Argentinian hadn’t played a game for United since November 2019 but only recently sealed a move away from Manchester in the January window, joining Boca Juniors in his homeland.
Gomes made his United debut at 16 years and 263 days old, making him the youngest player to represent the club since 1953.
Expectations were consequently high for Gomes, but his United career never materialised. He made just five first-team appearances, and after failed contract negotiations, he was released in June 2020 before joining Lille on a free transfer.
Gomes was immediately sent on loan to Boavista for the 2020/21 campaign, and he’s since played 32 times for the Portuguese club, scoring six goals and recording six assists this term.
Another product of United’s youth system, Wilson made the dream debut when scoring a brace at Old Trafford against Hull in the Premier League.
He failed to establish himself as a first-team player at United, and after loan periods away at Brighton, Derby, Sheffield United and Aberdeen, he found a permanent home with the latter in Scotland.
Wilson scored four goals in 48 appearances for Aberdeen but joined Class of 92 owned Salford City in January 2020 where he’s found the back of the net 10 times in 35 appearances.