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Manchester United’s four best signings post-Sir Alex Ferguson

In the later years under Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United were not known for spending large sums of cash. Ferguson and then Chief Executive David Gill used the available funds to bring in what they needed to get the job done. When Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United in 2009, the Glazers did not allow United to get a like for like replacement. Instead United settled for Antonio Valencia from Wigan Athletic. Valencia himself, not of the same ilk as Ronaldo but has been a great servant at Old Trafford since his arrival.

Due to the Glazers reluctance to give Ferguson and co. the budget to build for the future, Manchester United had a major fall from grace when David Moyes took over in 2013. Due to an aged squad and the clear need for an overhaul at Carrington, the Glazers finally agreed they needed to allow more of a budget to bring in quality players at Old Trafford.

In recent times, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have brought in some of the biggest names in football such as Angel Di Maria and Paul Pogba. However, some of these big money signings have turned out to be major flops in North West of England. Here are four of United’s best signings in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era:

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Juan Mata

Having signed for United from Chelsea in the January transfer window of 2014, United fans will agree the Spaniard is one of the few positives to result from David Moyes’s appointment. Since joining United, the former Valencia man has played a total of 237 games for Manchester United and scoring 44 goals. Mata has acted as a technical playmaker for United by registering 27 assists for the reds during his spell at Old Trafford. Under Van Gaal, Mata was a regular starter and became a fan favourite in Manchester. With the arrival of Jose Mourinho, there were some doubts over Mata’s future at United as Mourinho was the man to sell Mata to United. However, this has had no effect on the players future as he has played 102 games for United under Mourinho. Mata has demonstrated the perfect attitude to succeed in a Mourinho team and will remain a senior player in the squad for seasons to come.

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Zlatan Ibrahimović

Arrived on a free from Paris Saint-Germain, the legendary Swede only lasted a season and a half at Old Trafford. However, this does not mean he has not been one of United’s better signings since Ferguson. In such a short space of time, the six foot five striker has had such an impact at Old Trafford and will remain in the hearts of United fans in the future. In only 66 appearances for United, Ibrahimović has produced 29 goals and 9 assists for the red half of Manchester. Unfortunately, his United career was cut short due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury against Anderlecht in the quarter-final of the Europa league. Zlatan Ibrahimović brought experience to a young United squad and his presence at Carrington will have a lasting impact on those who have played with him in the red shirt.

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Romelu Lukaku

Brought in as a direct replacement for the injured Ibrahimović, Romelu Lukaku has enjoyed a brilliant debut season for Jose Mourinho’s side. Having played for United 50 times in his first season, the Belgian scored 27 times and registered 7 assists for United. Not only does Lukaku bring power and pace to United’s frontline, he has shown up many critics by demonstrating the intelligence that exists in his game. Lukaku is a player that Mourinho relies on, and without him in the side, the team look like they have no focal point. He is expected to be United’s number nine for many years to come.

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Nemanja Matic

Another player who has only played one season for United but has a made such an impact in a short space of time. Nemanja Matic picks up the holding midfield role for the reds, making tackles, picking passes and a world-class goal in the dying minutes to win the game away at Selhurst Park has made the Serbian a joy to watch. The tough as nails midfielder has featured for United 47 times this season. Matic has an 87.9% pass completion rate for United, and whilst Michael Carrick has retired, the former Chelsea man will need to be more influential on and off the pitch in Manchester. The midfielder has sat in front of the back two all season and has provided extra security for United’s defence. As Mourinho hopes to bring in an extra midfielder, Matic will be crucial over the next few seasons as the Portuguese manager attempts to get a tune out of perhaps the most naturally talented player in the squad, Paul Pogba.

Jose Mourinho will hope to bring in players this summer that can have an impact at Manchester United like these four players have had.

It is worth noting that three out of four of the players named above were signed by Mourinho which is an indication that Mourinho is the right man for United going forward. When the day comes that Mourinho leaves United, the new coach coming in will have inherited the best squad since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Written by Shane Purcell

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