EPL: United's 10 worst signings

For the first time in years, Manchester United fans turned on one of their own last Saturday as the Red Devils struggled to see off an obdurate Stoke City side.

The enigmatic Portuguese winger Luis Nani was the object of the United fans' frustrations. However, as infuriating as Nani is, surely he's better than this lot?


According to a pre-season poll among Manchester United supporters, the England winger is the player who they would most like to personally drive away from the club.

The 28-year-old (left) joined United from Aston Villa for a whopping £17m ($34m) in 2011, but has gone backwards after showing signs of promise in his first season.

His display in the 4-1 defeat by Manchester City in September was described by one United fan on Twitter as "the worst performance of any United player in my 20 years as a season-ticket holder".

Set for a January loan move.


On July 1, 2009, United sold their prized asset Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid for £80m. Less than a week later, they snapped up his replacement - the wing wizard that is Gabriel Obertan - for just £3m, which yet again proves that you get what you pay for.

First impressions of the new boy from Bordeaux were that he was versatile, tall and athletic. On paper, Obertan's CV looked good; on grass, he simply failed to cut it. After two seasons and 14 appearances, he swopped the United bench for Newcastle's.


Yet another speedy winger who singularly failed to thrive at the Theatre of Dreams.

Bellion arrived from Sunderland in 2003 when Sir Alex Ferguson's touch in the transfer market had temporarily deserted him.

Bellion had started only five Premier League games for the Black Cats in the previous two seasons, but Ferguson went to great lengths to bring him to Old Trafford - even being accused of "tapping up" the player.

Why he bothered remains a complete mystery. After four goals in three seasons, the man who barely seemed to understand the offside rule headed back to his native France.


The Uruguayan striker polarises opinion at Old Trafford.

For some, he is a hero after scoring twice at Anfield in December 2002.

However, does that brace really mask three years of unequivocal mediocrity from a player who went on to score goals for fun at Villarreal and Atletico Madrid? I think not; 17 goals in 98 appearances says it all.

However, there's one thing young footballers can learn here. When you arrive at a big club and the media asks why you joined, don't say, "because they offered the biggest wages", as Forlan did on joining United. Just lie.


The Bosman signing of Irish midfielder Liam Miller from Celtic in 2004 was seen as something of a coup. Miller had just helped Celtic to the Scottish Premier League title, and there was talk of his passing and intelligence being in the class of another player who made the switch from Parkhead to Old Trafford, Brian McClair.

Alas, he wasn't. His former United teammate Roy Keane gave him the chance to resurrect his career at Sunderland in 2006, when he proved once and for all that he didn't belong in the English Premier League.


Kleberson refused to fly to the UK to have talks with Leeds United in January 2003 because the 23-year-old wanted to get engaged first to "his 15-year-old girlfriend".

Dayane Wilians da Silva, who celebrated her 16th birthday on Valentine's Day 2003, told reporters: "He (Kleberson) told me he would not travel without me unless I agreed to marry him - I accepted within the hour."

Instead of Leeds, Kleberson joined Manchester United in August 2003 for £6.5m.

Expectations were high after he'd set up one of Ronaldo's two goals as Brazil beat Germany 2-0 in the 2002 World Cup Final, but his spell at Old Trafford was forgettable.

He was injured in his second game, and made just 20 appearances before being sold to Besiktas for a sizeable loss.


So bad they named him twice.

The Cameroon midfield enforcer was signed from Nantes in 2003 as the long-term successor to Roy Keane.

However, while his tackling may have compared to Keano's, he possessed little if any of the Irish midfielder's footballing ability.

His ultra-aggressive style of play was described by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger as "obscene".

After 30 average-to-poor performances, United somehow convinced Aston Villa to part with £1.5m for his services in 2005.


When the Serbian-born Swedish playmaker joined United in 1999, big things were expected. However, the early acclaim got to his head, and he made just two appearances for the Red Devils in five years.

Now back at his first club, Brommapojkaran in Sweden, he told The Daily Mail newspaper he wished he'd worked harder and got himself fitter.

He said: "I rarely missed a chance to go out and hit the bars. I was so impatient... I'd sulk if I didn't make the bench... I should have appreciated being at the biggest club in the world."


Eric Cantona's mate from the Auxerre youth team displayed none of the traits of the maverick United legend.

In 1995, Sir Alex was in the market for a continental style defender with good passing skills.

Prunier was not the answer.

He made a passable impression of a footballer during the first match of his two-game trial against QPR in December 1995.

But his performance in the subsequent 4-1 drubbing by Spurs was borderline comical.

He soon scuttled off back to France.


The one player who Sir Alex signed without ever having seen play. Portuguese club Vitoria de Guimaraes could not believe their luck when United paid £7.5m for the player.

Bebe made just a few appearances for United after joining in 2009. Currently on loan with Portuguese side Pacos, the 23-year-old was said to be unplayable in last month's 4-3 win over Maritimo.

NOTE: I promised a United-loving friend that I'd never mention the name "Massimo Taibi" again, otherwise the hapless goalkeeper would have been a contender for top spot.

Get The New Paper for more stories.