Man Utd's most expensive signings ever

The biggest transfer fees Manchester United have ever paid in the long history of England's most successful club.

Paul Pogba broke the world transfer record when he rejoined Manchester United in 2016
Paul Pogba broke the world transfer record when he rejoined Manchester United in 2016 / James Baylis - AMA/GettyImages
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Manchester United is an institution that prides itself on harnessing homegrown talent.

The two defining figures of the club, Sirs Matt Busby and Alex Ferguson, insisted upon the importance of youth. The last time Manchester United's matchday squad didn't include a former academy player was before the outbreak of the Second World War.

However, that hasn't stopped the most successful club in English football from dipping their toe into the market. In fact, United have broken the British transfer record on no fewer than six occasions.

Here are the most expensive talents that have been fielded alongside the club's homegrown gems.


Man Utd's most expensive signings ever

10. Anthony Martial - £36m

There were numerous clauses baked into the £36m transfer that lured a 19-year-old Anthony Martial from Monaco to Manchester in 2015. The most ambitious of which stipulated that Monaco would be owed a £7.2m bonus if Martial won the Ballon d'Or before June 2019.

When Martial came off the bench to score on his debut against Liverpool, it didn't seem so fanciful. However, the Frenchman is yet to even earn a nomination for the award.


9. Bruno Fernandes - £46.5m

Bruno Fernandes
Bruno Fernandes has regularly captain Manchester United since his big-money move / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

When Bruno Fernandes was presented with the choice of Boavista or Porto as a seven-year-old, he opted for the less established former as the club offered free transport via minibus and neither of his parents could drive.

The £46.5m fee which Manchester United paid Sporting CP proved to be just as convincing as childhood convenience.


8. Fred - £47m

Fred
Fred won three league titles in five seasons with Shakhtar Donetsk before joining Manchester United in 2018 - he is yet to win the Premier League / Robin Jones/GettyImages

Since his lucrative move from Shakhtar Donetsk in the summer of 2018, which was initially believed to be worth £54m, Fred has endured a mixed reception from United's fanbase.

With all of the criticism clearly weighing on him, Fred reasoned: "I know I’m not the best player, not the most technical, but I give my blood and my life every time I’m on the pitch." But is effort alone worthy of such a lofty fee?


7. Angel Di Maria - £59.7m

Angel Di Maria may never have wanted to leave Real Madrid but he started life at Manchester United in brilliant form, directly contributing to seven goals in his first six appearances.

However, Di Maria scored his final Premier League goal in October, hurriedly concluding his stay in England after one season which was tainted by a home invasion that "made ​​me want to leave there quickly".


6. Casemiro - £60m

Casemiro
Casemiro is the most expensive player Manchester United have signed over the age of 30 / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages

As Brentford frolicked in the energy-sapping heat, rattling four first-half goals past Manchester United on the second weekend of the 2022/23 season, Casemiro fired off a text to his agent.

Three days earlier, Casemiro had already collected his first trophy of the season, winning the UEFA Super Cup with Real Madrid. However, he vowed to "fix" the dire situation at Manchester United, encouraging his representatives to force through a £60m move.


5. Jadon Sancho - £73m

Jadon Sancho
Jadon Sancho came through Manchester City's youth academy before joining Manchester United's senior team / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

In the summer of 2021, Jadon Sancho was the most expensive jewel in the crown of a transfer window lauded as one of the greatest in the club's history.

Arriving alongside serial winner Raphael Varane and returning demigod Cristiano Ronaldo, Sancho promised to be a star of the present and future. Within four months of the new season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had been sacked.

United ended the campaign without a single trophy and Sancho scored just three league goals - fewer than Dan James, the player United sold to Leeds in the wake of Sancho's arrival.


4. Romelu Lukaku - £75m

Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku failed to live up to his price tag at Old Trafford / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

No player in the history of the sport has amassed a larger sum of combined transfer fees than the eminently desirable Romelu Lukaku. The burly Belgian cracked nine digits for the first time following his £75m move from Everton to United in 2017 but would add to his eye-watering tally with subsequent arrivals at Inter and Chelsea.

Across two seasons at Old Trafford, Lukaku scored 28 Premier League goals - only marginally better than the 25 he managed during his final campaign at Everton.


3. Harry Maguire - £80m

Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire first captained Manchester United on his tenth appearance for the club / Michael Regan/GettyImages

Harry Maguire had not racked up double digits in Manchester United's famous strip before he was first handed the captain's armband.

Officially promoted to skipper on a permanent basis halfway through his debut season at the club, Maguire had to carry the burden of leadership and the tag of the world's most expensive defender. The pressure ultimately took its toll.


2. Antony - £82m

Antony
Antony became the first Manchester United player to score in each of his opening three Premier League appearances for the club / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

The most expensive sale in the history of the Dutch top flight was raised well below the poverty line in a Brazilian favela known as 'Little Hell'. Without money for boots, Antony remembers playing "on bleeding feet".

However, that didn't hamper his flair. "I would elastico the drug dealers," he said. "Rainbow the bus drivers. Nutmeg the thieves." United splashed the cash in the hope that Antony could have the same success against Premier League opponents.


1. Paul Pogba - £89m

Paul Pogba's late agent Mino Raiola claimed that he was "worth twice as much as Gareth Bale" in 2014. When the French midfielder returned to United in the summer of 2016, he did eclipse Bale's world-record fee but only narrowly, commanding £89m.

A feud between Raiola and United's legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson - who described himself and the agent as "oil and water" - led to Pogba's first Old Trafford exit in 2012. United received just £800,000 in compensation four years before paying more than 100 times that fee for a player that never recaptured the form he showed for Juventus, and eventually lost him on a free.


Player

Fee

Joined

Signed from

Paul Pogba

£89m

2016

Juventus

Antony

£82m

2022

Ajax

Harry Maguire

£80m

2019

Leicester

Romelu Lukaku

£75m

2017

Everton

Jadon Sancho

£73m

2021

Borussia Dortmund

Casemiro

£60m

2022

Real Madrid

Angel Di Maria

£59.7m

2014

Real Madrid

Fred

£47m

2018

Shakhtar Donetsk

Bruno Fernandes

£46.5m

2020

Sporting CP

Anthony Martial

£36m

2015

Monaco