Manchester United’s best January transfer window signings

The January transfer window is upon us again, which means clubs are now looking to do business to strengthen their squad.

Although clubs often say business is tough to do in the mid-season, some of the best Premier League players have joined their clubs during the winter period. Manchester United have done business in the past, signing a total of 13 first-team players during the January windows.

But which of these was the best? 90 mins classified them.

Alexis Sanchez
Arguably the worst signing for Manchester United | Shaun Botterill / Getty Images

One of the most recent arrivals in January at Old Trafford was Chilean superstar Alexis Sanchez.

After an extended move from rivals Arsenal, Sanchez reached a swap deal for Henrikh Mkhitaryan with a staggering salary of £ 450,000 per week. Despite coming into a solid squad and being the focal point, Sanchez only scored five goals in 45 games for Manchester United before leaving on a free transfer to Inter.

Victor Valdes
Valdes had virtually no impact at Old Trafford | Clive Mason / Getty Images

The legendary Barcelona goalkeeper signed as a free agent during Louis van Gaal’s tenure at the club. He was only signed as a David De Gea replacement and only made two appearances for the club, before being placed on the transfer list after refusing to play in a reserve game.

He left on loan the following January before being released at the end of his contract. You would be forgiven for forgetting this agreement.

Manchester United Serbian striker Zora
Zoran Tosic joined as a hot young prospect but it never worked | ANDREW YATES / Getty Images

Tosic joined United as a 22-year-old prospect from FK Partizan, but he never managed to really make his way into the first team.

He only made five appearances under Sir Alex Ferguson, but was a regular with the reserve squad before joining FC Koln on loan. He went on to build an excellent career with CSKA Moscow and also made 76 appearances for the Serbian national team.

Anders Lindegaard
Lindegaard was largely relief during his time at Old Trafford | Alex Livesey / Getty Images

Another goalkeeper who has joined the club to return, Lindegaard has also had a short spell as a premier keeper.

After David De Gea’s poor start in English football, Sir Alex took him out of the spotlight and used Lindegaard, only for De Gea to return to his place soon. In five years at Old Trafford, the Dane made 29 appearances in all competitions before leaving for West Brom.

Originally signed on a six-month loan, Ighalo took over for Manchester United by scoring five goals in his first five starts for the club. He was due to return to his parent club in China at the end of the season, but when football was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the club extended his loan until January 2021.

Since the start of the new season, Ighalo has only made four appearances in all competitions and looks set for a quiet outing when his spell ends.

Diego Forlan of Manchester United celebrates scoring the game's opening goal
Diego Forlan had a tough time at Old Trafford | Gary M. Prior / Getty Images

You might call him a cult hero, but Forlan’s time at Old Trafford has been tough.

After joining in January 2002, the Uruguayan played 26 games before scoring his first goal for the club and struggled to make a real impact at the club. He scored some memorable goals in his time, including the famous brace against Liverpool at Anfield, but his time in La Liga is ultimately remembered more.

A lot of people won’t even remember that Henrik Larsson was once a Manchester United player, but he was. For three months from January 2007, Larsson wore the famous red jersey – as his parent club, Helsingborg, enjoyed their off season – and he was excellent.

In 13 games he has scored three goals and manager Sir Alex Ferguson has gushed at him insisting he “would have done anything to make him stay”.

He left the club before the end of the season and despite having played only seven league games, he still has more Premier League medals than Steven Gerrard.

After falling out with Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, Juan Mata jumped into a helicopter and signed for Manchester United from David Moyes in January 2014 for £ 37million.

Since joining Mata, there have been both good and bad form spells, often deployed on the right side of the attack. His best spell at the club came under Louis van Gaal, when he scored a brace with that iconic scissor kick to turn Anfield into “Juanfield”.

He won the Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup at Old Trafford.

We are cheating here, but it cannot go by without a mention.

Paul Scholes retired in the summer of 2011 after a Champions League final defeat against Barcelona and started working as a coach with youth teams. But after getting in the mood to play the game again, Scholesy asked Sir Alex if he could return to the game staff instead.

A deal was made in secret and Scholes’ name appeared on the roster for an FA Cup draw against Manchester City without any prior official announcement. He ended up becoming the third most capped player in club history and won another Premier League title before retiring in 2013.

Louis Saha, Ronaldo
Saha signed at Fulham in 2004 | Stu Forster / Getty Images

After shining in Fulham’s 3-1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson made the decision to sign Louis Saha in January 2004 for £ 12.4million.

He suffered injuries during his time at the club, but was still part of the squad that won the Premier League title in 2006/07 after replacing Ruud van Nistelrooy as the first choice striker. He has scored 42 goals for the club and is a much respected player by the fans, but there is still a bit of “what if?” around his career.

Bruno Fernandes
Bruno Fernandes has been amazing since signing in 2020 | Pool / Getty Images

The most recent transfer on the roster, we all know Bruno Fernandes’ impact at Manchester United.

After finally signing for the club following a long saga, Fernandes made a steal of her £ 67million with her performances. The Portuguese magnifico seems to score or get an assist every time he plays and is essential to how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sets up the squad.

He could possibly move up that list depending on what he achieves during his time at Old Trafford, but for now, he’s comfortably in the top three.

Patrice Evra
Evra is one of the best left-backs in Premier League history | Clive Mason / Getty Images

Arguably Manchester United’s best left-back Patrice Evra is a club legend.

He signed for the French side from Monaco in 2006 and spent eight years at the club, but it’s easy to forget that he didn’t really hit the ground running at Old Trafford. He was substituted at half-time on his Manchester derby debut as he struggled with the physicality of the game.

He evolved and improved however, winning five Premier League titles, three League Cups and the Champions League before going on free transfer after falling out with the club’s hierarchy.

Nemanja Vidic
Vidic is one of Manchester United’s all-time great center-backs | Shaun Botterill / Getty Images

It was difficult to separate the top two, but former club captain Nemanja Vidic gets the nod.

The Serb joined the same window as Evra in 2006 and formed one of the greatest defensive partnerships of all time with Rio Ferdinand.

Vidic won five Premier League titles, three League Cups and the UEFA Champions League during his time at the club before falling out with David Moyes and leaving for Inter. He was named club captain after Gary Neville retired and was named Premier League player of the year in 2009 and 2011.

The biggest January signing in Manchester United history.

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