During the Premier League era, Manchester United have surpassed their transfer record on 11 different occasions. Here, we’ve run the rule over each of the 11 players and what happened next following their move to Old Trafford.
Roy Keane (£3.75m, 1993)
Keane wasn’t just a United record signing, but a British record, surpassing the £3.6m Blackburn paid for Alan Shearer a year earlier. Joining after Nottingham Forest’s relegation, Keane did everything that could have realistically been asked of a United midfielder and captain in more than a decade at the club. After finishing his career at Celtic Keane went into coaching, managing Sunderland and Ipswich before spells as Martin O’Neill’s assistant with Ireland and Nottingham Forest. Keane also assisted Paul Lambert at Aston Villa in 2014. Keane is currently without a coaching job and is a regular pundit for ITV and Sky Sports.
Andy Cole (£7m, 1995)
Another new Premier League record, United signed Cole for £7m (broken down as £6m plus Keith Gillespie in part-exchange) from Newcastle. Cole won five Premier Leagues, two FA Cups and a Champions League during his time at United. After leaving in 2001, aged 30, Cole played for eight more clubs – including a Premier League stint with United’s neighbours Manchester City. Cole has suffered with health problems since retiring and underwent a kidney transplant in 2017. Now a United ambassador.
Jaap Stam (£10.75m, 1998)
Stam joined United from PSV Eindhoven after starring at the 1998 World Cup, as the Netherlands narrowly missed out on a place in the final. He was huge for United during the treble-winning season and Sir Alex Ferguson would later admit selling Stam in 2001 was one of the biggest regrets of his career. Since retiring in 2007, the former centre-back has moved into management and is currently in charge of MLS franchise FC Cincinnati.
Dwight Yorke (£12.6m, 1998)
Just weeks after Stam’s arrival, they broke their record again when Yorke joined from Aston Villa, giving United a stacked front-line with Cole, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also on the club’s books. The Trinidad and Tobago striker had two hot seasons, across which he scored more than 50 goals, before fading and seeing out his career with Blackburn, Sydney FC and Sunderland. Like many other former United players, he has dabbled in punditry since retiring more than a decade ago.
Ruud van Nistelrooy (£19m, 2001)
United were made to wait for Van Nistelrooy, after the Dutchman suffered a serious injury when on the verge of joining in 2000, but he wasted little time getting among the goals after arriving from PSV a year later. His 95 strikes for United mean fewer than 10 players have scored more for a single Premier League club, though he only won one league title – in 2002/03 – before leaving for Real Madrid. Van Nistelrooy has kept a relatively low profile since retiring in 2012 but has spent the last few years back at PSV as part of the club’s coaching staff.
Juan Sebastian Veron (£28.1m, 2001)
The first record buy which didn’t really come off, Veron was unfortunate to arrive at a time when United’s homegrown core was in such fine form it made it tough for him to establish himself. The Argentine had some good moments after joining from Lazio but he was sold to Chelsea at a loss after just two seasons. He didn’t fully retire until 2017, by which time he had entered his forties, but had already taken on off-field roles at Estudiantes while still part of his hometown club’s playing staff. He is now the club’s chairman.
Rio Ferdinand (£29.1m, 2002)
If you’re going to spend close to £30m on a player, getting more than 10 years of service feels like a good return. The fee for Ferdinand was questioned by some at the time, but the former Leeds and West Ham man demonstrated his quality while helping United win countless trophies, including the 2007/08 Champions League. Like a number of others on this list, Ferdinand has moved into punditry since hanging up his boots.
Dimitar Berbatov (£30.75m, 2008)
United fought off competition from the newly minted Manchester City to sign Berbatov from Spurs, where he had scored 15 goals in the 2007/08 season. The Bulgarian won two league titles with United, notably top-scoring in the entire Premier League in 2010/11, but things went south after he was left off the bench for that season’s Champions League final. After stints in Ligue 1 and the Indian Super League, among others, he officially retired in 2019.
Juan Mata (£37.1m, 2014)
Mata was the first post-Ferguson signing to break United’s record, and the only David Moyes signing to do so. He joined from Chelsea, with whom he won the 2012 Champions League, and remains at Old Trafford today.
Angel Di Maria (£59.7m, 2014)
At the opposite end of the scale, Di Maria joined just a few months after Mata but was gone just a year later. The Argentina international joined after winning the 2013/14 Champions League and making the World Cup final, but had issues settling in Manchester. He left United for Paris Saint-Germain in 2015, where has won three Ligue 1 titles and suffered defeat to Bayern Munich in last season’s Champions League final.
Paul Pogba (£89.3m, 2016)
United’s current record signing, Pogba has blown hot and cold since rejoining the club from Juventus in 2016. Injuries have limited his involvement in 2019/20, but the previous two seasons brought some big performances, not least in the comeback win at Manchester City in April 2018. United have twice come close to breaking their record again, paying £75m for Romelu Lukaku and £80m for Harry Maguire, but Pogba remains number one.
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