Ranking some great signings by Ed Woodward (Image via Sportskeeda).
Ed Woodward is not a favorite among the Manchester United faithful. Many see him as the poster boy for the mediocre performances that have befallen the mighty English club. As Woodward prepares to leave his role as executive vice president this month, most fans will associate his reign with overpaid signings that haven’t delivered results.
Ed Woodward also pulled off some great Manchester United signings
With no shortage of resources, no expenses are spared when it comes to signing world-class players at Manchester United. While this has resulted in a clear case of overspending, the following names represent the opposite. These players can be considered great signings when one incorporates the price at which they were brought in and matches them with their performances.
#5 Ander Herrera – £32M
Ander Herrera was a leader in midfield for Manchester United.
Ander Herrera‘s signing may have been without much fanfare when the Spanish central midfielder was acquired from Athletic Bilbao.
There was a wind of doom and gloom following the shockingly poor David Moyes era, and that could have possibly played its part as well. Many fans wondered who Herrera was and how he would cope with the pressure of a Manchester United team that was low on confidence.
Herrera spent five years at Old Trafford, where he became an integral part of the squad irrespective of the manager. The midfielder displayed a solid balance between tenacity and creativity in running the midfield.
The Spaniard played in 189 matches for the club and had 47 goal involvements in five seasons with the Red Devils. It was quite a shame that a contract dispute saw Herrera move to Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent once his contract ended.
#4 Luke Shaw – £33.75M
Luke Shaw has been excellent in the last two seasons for Manchester United.
Shaw’s major issue has been the horrible luck he has had with injuries. Fans still remember the horrible incident that saw him pick up a double fracture, and the mishaps have greatly hampered his development. The Englishman also struggled massively during Jose Mourinho’s reign at Old Trafford.
However, the last couple of seasons have been better for him as Shaw has remained free from major injuries.
There was never any doubt about the talent Shaw possessed, and he has developed into a great left-back for club and country. One could make a valid point that his performances still have scope for improvement. However, the Englishman has appeared 205 times for the club despite the nasty injuries he has suffered and is their starting left-back at the moment.
#3 Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Free transfer
Zlatan Ibrahimovic brought goals and a winning mentality back to Manchester United.
The great Swede added Manchester United to the list of prestigious clubs he played for in 2016 when he switched from Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent. Very little needs to be said about Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has been one of the best strikers in the modern era.
The player may have been a bit of a journeyman, but he has won trophies wherever he has gone. It was no different for him at Old Trafford as well. Ibrahimovic crucially helped Manchester United win a couple of trophies to break the lean patch they have experienced post the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Swede was a great signing and delivered the goods despite doubts hovering over his ability to perform in the toughest league. Ibrahimovic struck the back of the net 29 times and notched up 10 assists in 53 appearances for the Red Devils. He also added the Carabao Cup and the UEFA Europa League to his long list of major honors.
The end was a bit tragic though as Ibrahimovic suffered a major injury that took its toll on him and resulted in his departure.
#2 Cristiano Ronaldo – £13.5M
Cristiano Ronaldo has been one of Manchester United’s best players this season.
One of Ed Woodward’s final acts as Executive Vice President was to sanction the deal that brought Cristiano Ronaldo back to Manchester United. After much rumor in the past, it was at the start of the 2021 campaign that the Portuguese finally returned to Old Trafford.
He was strongly linked with Manchester City, but chose his ‘adopted home’ at the very last minute. Ronaldo left United for Real Madrid back in 2009, leaving behind a rich legacy of records, goals and important trophies. The winger notably won the Premier League and UEFA Champions League with the club.
He went on to add four more Champions League winners’ medals with Los Blancos, but could not deliver the prestigious trophy at Juventus.
Ronaldo finds himself in a much harder situation in the present period as he is in an underperforming United team which is playing well below their potential. Some have even criticized the Portuguese, opining that the club have been suffering because of his constant selection in the side.
However, without Ronaldo’s 14 goals and three assists, Manchester United would be in an even worse position, especially in the Champions League.
#1 Bruno Fernandes – £56.7M
Bruno Fernandes has been one of the best Manchester United signings in the post-Ferguson era.
Manchester United were down and out midway through the 2019-20 season as nothing seemed to be bearing fruit for the side. They were performing poorly, and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer was under a lot of pressure to deliver.
The boardroom decided to bring him reinforcements, and along came Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon. Many would have hoped for Fernandes to play well, but nobody could have imagined the impact he would have.
Since arriving at Old Trafford, the attacking midfielder has been a talisman for the club and the squad. Fernandes has achieved impressive things and has often been the main man carrying the team forward.
Having already made 105 appearances, Bruno has made 79 contributions towards goals. He also became the Premier League midfielder with the most goals across all competitions in a single season during the 2020-21 campaign.
The only thing that remains is for the Portuguese to win a trophy at Old Trafford, which will surely bring plenty of happiness to the club’s fans.