Rio Ferdinand names just three Manchester United signings who have ‘performed as expected’ | Football

Bruno Fernandes joined Manchester United in January 2020 (Picture: Getty Images)

Rio Ferdinand believes just three Manchester United signings in the last decade have lived up to expectations: Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Recruitment has proved a serious issue under a string of managers at Old Trafford, with huge amounts of money being spent but with little reward.

Under the current Erik ten Hag regime little has changed, with big transfer fees forked out on the likes of Antony and Mason Mount, but without much return on that investment.

Ferdinand feels it has been a problem ever since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 and thinks just three signings have performed as the club would have wanted to them when they brought them in.

Speaking on The Sports Agents podcast, Ferdinand said: ‘When you look at the recruitment, I think there’s only three players that I can remember coming in and then going, “Okay, they’ve played at a level that you would have expected.”

‘Bruno [Fernandes], Cristiano [Ronaldo] and Zlatan [Ibrahimovic]. The only three players I thought that you go, “Actually I saw consistently what I expected to see from them.

‘Everyone else just fell well short. For whatever reason it is, they just haven’t hit a standard you expect them to come in for. There’s no value in them in what you expect. So they have to get to the bottom of that.’

Manchester United v AS Saint-Etienne - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: First Leg

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a short spell at Old Trafford from 2016-18 (Picture: Getty Images)

Gary Neville has previously gone even further than Ferdinand and claimed that it is only Fernandes who has performed to the levels expected of him as a signing for the Red Devils in the last 10 years.

Speaking on The Overlap, the Manchester United legend used Jadon Sancho’s successful return to Borussia Dortmund on loan as an example of how big signings struggle at Old Trafford.

‘Jadon Sancho, he was awful at United, he was awful. Let’s be clear,’ said Neville. ‘His performance levels, his confidence, his belief. He goes to a different team, and all of a sudden, you start to see a player, where you think, “How has that happened, why is that happening time and time again?”

‘Players with great reputations come into Old Trafford and they just don’t work. And they come back out, and they’re normal again. It’s probably happened for 10 years.

Jadon Sancho returned to Borussia Dortmund on loan from Manchester United in January (Picture: Getty Images)

‘I think over the last 10 years, there’s only be one player that United have signed that I think has actually lived up to expectations, or achieved what he has previous and that’s Bruno Fernandes.

‘I can’t think of another signing that has gone onto excel at the club. Luke Shaw, to be fair, when he’s been fit, has played at a high level, I think, and grown from where he was maybe at Southampton – you could maybe argue that.

‘But all the other big signings, whether it’s [Angel] Di Maria, [Bastian] Schweinsteiger, [Radamel] Falcao. Whether it’s [Paul] Pogba, whether it’s [Harry] Maguire, [Mason] Mount this season, [Raphael] Varane, every player – why is it that Jadon Sancho can come in, then all of a sudden just go back there [and succeed]?’


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