Manchester United have been the most successful club in England since the Premier League was created back in 1992, and that has in part been down to the excellent players they’ve had at their disposal.
The club have never been afraid to spend money on a player they feel will improve them and it has helped them win 13 Premier League titles as well as countless other domestic and European trophies in that time.
While they have a great record with young players from their academy breaking into the first team such as Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Marcus Rashford, some of their most important players have been bought for big money.
But who are the most expensive transfers in the club’s history? Let’s takes a look.
After shining for Tottenham, Sir Alex Ferguson made the decision to have Michael Carrick replace Roy Keane in the Manchester United squad.
464 appearances later, Carrick is an Old Trafford great with five Premier League titles and a Champions League crown.
Manchester United moved swiftly to sign David de Gea when Edwin Van der Sar retired in 2011, with a fee of £18.7m mooted.
He has gone on to become one of the best goalkeepers in Premier League history and is still the club’s number one today.
Signed in January 2020, Diallo shined for Atalanta and United have gambled on the youngster in the hope he will be a future star for the club.
Van Nistelrooy was supposed to sign a year before he did, but a knee injury put the deal on ice.
United came back in for him and he rewarded them with 150 goals in 219 games over five seasons before leaving for Real Madrid.
After turning out for United’s rivals Arsenal for eight years, Van Persie made the unprecedented move of joining United for £22.5m.
He fired the Red Devils to the title in his first season at the club, winning number 20 in the iconic number 20 shirt.
Nani was a hot prospect at Sporting CP when United splashed the cash on the young Portuguese winger.
While he never quite lived up to Cristiano Ronaldo’s standards, he had a fantastic career at Old Trafford where he won 12 trophies in total.
After tearing up the Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven, Depay was brought to Old Trafford by compatriot Louis van Gaal in a £25m deal.
Memphis struggled in England though and left for Lyon after just one-and-a-half seasons at the club.
It’s not often that a player who won nine trophies with a club is considered a ‘what if’ player, but that’s what Anderson is at Old Trafford.
The Brazilian was plagued by injuries during his time at the club and never got to fulfil the potential that convinced United to spend £26m on him from Porto.
United fans were joyous when images of a blood test revealed that Schneiderlin was set to join from Southampton for £27m.
The deal didn’t end well though as the French midfielder struggled with the expectations of the club and made just 47 appearances before leaving for Everton.
Rooney became the world’s most expensive teenager when he signed in 2004 and went on to become club captain and its all-time top goalscorer with 253 goals in 559 games. Bargain.
After the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes was brought in as manager and signed Fellaini to follow him from Everton.
The deal was clouded with fans unhappy about the fee and manager but ultimately Fellaini did well for United before leaving for China in January 2019.
Veron signed from Serie A side Lazio for a then record for a non-UEFA player, with a huge reputation as one of the best playmakers in Europe.
Despite a good start, the pace of the Premier League eventually caught up with him and he struggled massively before leaving for Chelsea just two seasons later. A true flop.
After the comedic events that saw a transfer not happen in 2013, with imposters pretending to be lawyers to get a deal done, it finally happened in 2014.
Herrera spent five years at Old Trafford and was a fan favourite, before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain in 2019 on a free. Money well spent.
After shining for West Ham and Leeds, Manchester United made Ferdinand the world’s most expensive defender when they splashed £29.1m on him.
He went on to become one of the best defenders Europe has ever seen, winning 14 trophies. What a signing.
After signing for £30m as an 18-year-old, Shaw started slowly at Old Trafford before a horrific broken leg set him back.
It’s taken a while, but now in 2021 Shaw is starting to show why the club spent so heavily on him to be their long-term left-back.
Plucked from Villarreal as a relative unknown, Eric Bailly’s United career has been blighted by injuries so far.
His talent is obvious and his attributes make him one of the best defenders at the club but he’s still yet to play 100 games having joined in 2016.
After signing from Borussia Dortmund, Mkhitaryan showed his ability fleetingly at Old Trafford.
He scored a memorable scorpion kick goal and netted in the Europa League final against Ajax, but ultimately it didn’t work out and he left for Arsenal in a swap deal for Alexis Sanchez. The less said about that, the better.
After a long, drawn out saga with Spurs, Berbatov eventually signed for United on deadline day in 2008.
He is fondly remembered for his hat-trick against Liverpool and winning the Golden Boot in 2010/11 as United won another title.
After months of persistent links, Lindelof joined from Benfica in a £31m deal in the summer of 2017.
He had a tough start to life in the Premier League but is now first choice under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and performing well as the club look to get back to the top.
United moved quickly to wrap up a deal for Donny Van de Beek from Ajax in the summer of 2020.
Since signing it hasn’t all been rosy though, as he’s struggled to get into the team for the most part. Still, early days…
Anthony Martial was a signing from out of the blue in 2015, as Louis Van Gaal splashed a huge amount on the French teenager.
He scored a wonder goal on his debut against Liverpool and has been a fan favourite ever since. You don’t hear much about the fee anymore unless it’s the fans in the stands singing his song.
After falling out of favour at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho, Juan Mata was brought in by David Moyes to help boost United’s season.
He’s been there ever since and while he’s never set the world alight like he did at Stamford Bridge, he’s been relatively successful. Plus, he renamed Anfield that time, too.
The Reds were in desperate need of a defensive midfielder in 2017, so Jose Mourinho raided his former club to re-sign Matic for £40m.
The Serbian has been good during his time at Old Trafford and recently signed a new contract to stay until 2023.
After being chased for months, Manchester United finally got a deal for Bruno Fernandes over the line in January 2020.
Since then his impact has been immeasurable, leading him to be compared to United legend Eric Cantona.
After being chased by Manchester City, Fred chose red and joined Mourinho’s side in 2018.
He struggled hugely in his first year-and-a-half but is now integral to Solskjaer’s midfield when it comes to the big games.
After breaking into the Crystal Palace side and performing admirably, United had seen enough to spend an eye-watering £50m on the young defender.
Defensively he is excellent but he is still developing the other side of his game, so the price looks a little high right now. Time is on his side, though.
After being forced out of Real Madrid, Di Maria signed for a then club-record fee of just under £60m and was given the legendary number seven shirt.
He started well but after a burglary at his home and a fall out with Van Gaal, he quickly left the following summer for Paris.
After starring for Everton, United paid £75m to bring Lukaku to Old Trafford as Mourinho looked to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Big Rom scored 27 goals in his debut season but fell out of favour after Mourinho was sacked and joined Inter the following summer.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made the decision that he wanted Harry Maguire at Old Trafford, and was willing to do whatever it took.
The club shelled out a world record £80m fee for a defender and he has since become the club captain despite being at the club for less than two years.
After leaving the club on a free transfer to join Juventus, Pogba returned to the club for a then world record fee of £89m in 2016.
His time at the club has been mixed, with top performances and manager fall outs but his star still shines bright. A world class footballer.