All transfer windows are a bit of a mixed bag but January really can be like opening a bag of revels.
For every Nemanja Vidic, there are numerous Wout Weghorsts and Odion Ighalos.
Last January, Manchester United were very busy bringing in Jack Butland, Wout Weghorst and Marcel Sabitzer all on loan. None are still at the club.
This season, as we enter the final two days of the window, it seems United will be doing nothing to bolster their squad as INEOS keep their powder dry for the summer.
One of the great success stories of winter windows of late has been the addition of Bruno Fernandes in January 2020. However, where does he rank in United’s top five January signings?
The Spaniard’s time at United is one that very few agree on. He arrived in heroic fashion in a helicopter, swooping in to save David Moyes’ wretched season at United. Unfortunately this was not the case and The Peoples Person stated recently that despite his obvious talent the club never could quite the best out of him.
Nonetheless, it is rare to sign a player of the former Chelsea man’s ability in the winter window and the player would go on to be a major contributor for the club over the course of numerous managers. The 35 year old played 285 times for United, scoring 51 goals, including an equaliser in the 2016 FA Cup final that provided the springboard for Jesse Lingard to score an extra-time winner. The Spaniard was also a key part in the League Cup and Europa League triumphs under Jose Mourinho.
4) Louis Saha
The Frenchman was Sir Alex Ferguson’s first-ever January signing after completing a £12.5m move from Fulham in 2004. Saha would play 124 times for the Red Devils and score 42 goals.
The electric striker’s pace and finishing ability delighted United fans for four and a half seasons but he could never quite shake his injury problems.
He did play a key role, scoring 13 goals in the 2006-2007 season after Ruud van Nistelrooy departed the club. Saha provided key support to youngsters Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo as United wrestled back their Premier League title from Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.
He would also play a squad role in United’s glorious 2007-2008 Champions League and Premier League double winning season.
3) Bruno Fernandes
Even the Portuguese’s biggest critics cannot deny the major influence he has had since him time at Old Trafford began.
Fernandes got off to an electric start scoring 12 goals in 22 games in the second half of the 2019-2020 season and then a majestic 28 goals in the next season. His scoring form has slowed down since, but he is still the club’s second top goal scorer this season with seven goals and he is the top chance creator.
The Porto-born star was also made captain in the summer and despite constant criticism, he has managed to continue to produce on the field. Just ask a certain Harry Maguire how difficult it can be to combine the two roles.
With 71 goals in 214 games for the Mancunian side, and at only 29 years old, Bruno will most likely break the 100 goal barrier for the club and play well over 300 games. Not bad for a winter window signing.
2) Patrice Evra
The next two players are head and shoulders above the competition and there is little to choose between them.
The charismatic Frenchman, Patrice Evra, joined the club in 2006 and actually struggled massively at the start of his time at the club. He was certainly behind Gabriel Heinze in the pecking order and made a horrendous debut versus Manchester City where he was taken off at half time.
However, since his first season, Evra never looked back. The definition of a born winner, the left back delighted fans with his attacking runs and crosses but could also handle himself defensively.
Evra would go on to play 379 times for the club, winning 5 Premier League trophies and a Champions League title. An absolute steal at £5.5m.
1) Nemanja Vidic
Like his fellow teammate, the great Serbian actually struggled in his first few months at Old Trafford and clearly needed time to adapt from the Russian league to the high octane levels of the Premier League.
However once he adapted, nobody could get by him. Vidic was a rock of a defender and was everything you would want from a centre back. Hard as nails, excellent at defending, great in the air and could grab a goal.
In fact, he would score 21 goals in 300 games. He would also go on to be club captain between 2011-2014, until he left the club under David Moyes’ stewardship.
The centre back won five Premier League trophies and one Champions League alongside Evra and is one of the club’s greatest ever defenders.