If Manchester United are to play in the Champions League next season, they may have to enter the transfer market in January.
The Red Devils are currently seventh in the Premier League, four points behind Arsenal, fourth with one game less.
Like all clubs, United made their fair share of mistakes in the January transfer window – and not just with purchases.
They also allowed some quality players to leave the club mid-season, such as current Barcelona ace Memphis Depay.
Here, Mirror Football takes a look at seven transfer mistakes United made in January, including an infamous swap deal.
Who is the worst signing in Manchester United history? Let us know in the comments below!
United believed they were signing one of the Premier League’s best players when Sanchez agreed to join them in January 2018.
At the time, the Chilean striker was scoring goals for rival Arsenal, scoring 30 goals in all competitions the previous season.
United struck a swap deal involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who had not made headlines during his 18-month stay at Old Trafford.
Sanchez signed a £ 400,000-a-week contract and arrived with great fanfare, strangely playing “Glory Glory Man Utd” on the piano in his unveiling video.
His musical skills were the only thing that impressed United fans as he ended up scoring just three Premier League goals before joining Inter Milan 18 months later.
Brendon Thorne / Getty Images)
Crystal Palace ace Zaha was one of England’s best youngsters when Ferguson made him his last United signing in January 2013.
By that time he had already made his England debut as a league player in November 2012 – later changing his allegiance to Ivory Coast in 2017 – and was awarded the prestigious EFL Young Player Award. of the year.
Zaha remained at Palace until the end of the 2012-13 campaign, reaching promotion to the Premier League, before joining United alongside Moyes this summer.
His time at Old Trafford was a disaster, making just two Premier League appearances before joining Cardiff on loan for the remainder of the 2013-14 campaign, where he suffered relegation.
Zaha then signed again for Palace in the summer of 2014 – making his contract permanent six months later – with United taking a financial hit on the sale.
Fans of the Red Devils went on to see him grow into one of the Premier League’s best players outside of the ‘Big Six’ – winning the division’s Player of the Month award in April 2018.
Man Utd via Getty Images)
Sir Alex Ferguson was inclined to sign a random flop during his tenure at the helm of United, like Bebe, Alexander Buttner and Massimo Taibi.
Angolan international Manucho certainly belongs to this list, signing a three-year contract with the club in January 2008.
After scoring numerous goals for Angolan side Petro Atletico and impressing in testing, Ferguson gave the striker his chance to play in England.
But Manucho only made one Premier League appearance for the Red Devils ahead of loan spells at Greek side Panathinaikos and Hull City.
He then played for several teams in Europe, including Real Valladolid and Rayo Vallecano, before ending his career in the summer of 2019.
Another strange signing from Ferguson, Fangzhuo arrived at Old Trafford from Chinese group Dalian Shide in January 2004.
United reportedly spent £ 500,000 initially on the China international, a fee that could have reached £ 3.5million by appearances.
This is not the case, as the forward has only made one Premier League outing for United in three and a half years at the club.
Much of that time was spent on loan at Belgian club Royal Antwerp, where he managed to score 34 league goals.
Fangzhuo continued to play in Poland, Portugal, Armenia and China before ending his career in 2014.
It is undeniable that Forlan has enjoyed an exceptional career, winning trophies in England, Spain, Brazil, Uruguay, Hong Kong and even internationally.
His time at Old Trafford, however, didn’t quite go as planned. The then 22-year-old Uruguayan joined United from Argentina’s Independiente side in January 2002 and was set to thrive.
“We’ve watched him three times and think he has good potential, two good feet, he’s quick and a good header,” Ferguson said.
Forlan has only scored 10 Premier League goals in two and a half years, yet failed to live up to his enormous potential.
He then joined Villarreal in the summer of 2004 and immediately enjoyed success in Spain, scoring 25 La Liga goals in his debut season.
Forlan later became a Golden Boot World Cup winner, leaving United fans wondering what could have been.
United believed they had found two future stars when they signed Zoran Tosic and Adem Ljajic from Partizan Belgrade in January 2009, but the deal did not work out as expected.
Ljajic’s move to Old Trafford fell apart and Tosic only made two Premier League appearances before joining German side Cologne on loan 12 months later.
Although he failed to qualify for United, Tosic still enjoyed a decent career at CSKA Moscow, winning three Russian Premier League titles and 76 caps for Serbia.
Now 34, he currently plays for Kazakh club FC Tobol.
Manchester boy, Drinkwater rose through the ranks at United before receiving loans at Huddersfield, Cardiff, Watford and Barnsley.
The midfielder’s impressive performances in the EFL led Leicester to spend £ 1million on him in January 2012, a move that seemed like a bargain for both sides.
United must have regretted the move, as Drinkwater won the Premier League title as England international four and a half years later.
Leicester then sold him to Chelsea for £ 35million in the summer of 2017.
In January 2021, Drinkwater won the Premier League more recently than United.