After a £25 million move from PSV Eindhoven to Manchester United in the summer of 2015, Memphis Depay’s career at Old Trafford never took off and even the manager that adored him so much in Louis Van Gaal, began to become frustrated with the Dutchman in his first season at the club. Jose Mourinho’s arrival at the club really spelled the end of Depay’s career for good at Manchester United as he now departs for Lyon in a reported £22 million move (Goal, 2017) with Mourinho looking to develop funds for a summer spending spree (Squawka, 2017). Depay made a reasonable 45 appearances for the Red Devils in 2015-16, albeit many of them from the bench or in cup games, but after the arrival of Mourinho has appeared just 7 times this season and looks a shadow of his former self. Better things may still be to come for the 22-year old but he will unfortunately now go down as one of the biggest flops in Manchester United’s history. But luckily for Memphis he isn’t the worst of the worst. Here are the top ten biggest flops of Manchester United’s 24-year Premier League stint.
10. Zoran Tosic
Another winger that could never get anything going for Manchester United. Zoran Tosic arrived at Old Trafford in 2009 from CSKA Moscow for a fee of £9m and given the number of appearances he made for the club, Sir Alex Ferguson was probably scratching his head at the signing just as much as the rest of us. The Serbian international made just five substitute appearances for the club, which combined didn’t even come to total a full 90 minute game. He was however a massive hit for the Reserves team so that’s something. Tosic was always a player with potential but with a lack of game time under his belt he and the club agreed to part ways and the winger was sold back to CSKA Moscow for just £1 million less than the price that the Red Devils paid for him. Tosic has had a successful career since then and has been a regular for both CSKA Moscow, where he’s won five major trophies, and for his national side where he’s made 76 appearances, more than Nemanja Matic and Dusan Tadic combined! However his short-lived time in the Premier League will always be remembered as a failure.
9. Juan Sebastian Veron
Argentinean legend Juan Sebastian Veron wasn’t all that bad of a player for the Red Devils but given what he cost Sir Alex Ferguson’s men, turned out to be a complete and utter flop. The Argentinean moved from Lazio to United in 2001 for a fee of £28.1 million, making him the most expensiveplayer in English football history at that time. After struggling to adapt to the pace of the Premier League and finding it difficult to spend any length of time on the ball at all, he was sold to Claudio Ranier’s Chelsea for £15 million where he became an even bigger flop. Again, Veron wasn’t all that terrible for the Red Devils but for being the most expensive player in English football history at the time the central midfielder certainly should have done better than 82 appearances and 11 goals for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men.
8. Memphis Depay
Although he made 45 appearances in his first season for Manchester United, Depay was never a regular in Louis Van Gaal’s set-up and scored only two goals in 29 Premier League appearances. This was on the back of a £25 million move from PSV Eindhoven, a club in which he scored 28 goals in 40 appearances in all competitions for the season before. There was a real sense of optimism amongst Manchester United fans surrounding Memphis Depay when he first arrived at the club but apart from one stellar hat-trick in the UEFA Europa League, every single time he was given a chance by Louis Van Gaal he squandered it. Just 2 goals in 29 Premier League appearances really tells the story, especially given the promise he showed at PSV Eindhoven and for the Dutch National Team at the 2014 World Cup. Now Depay is set to make a £22 million move to Lyon within the next 24 hours, with Manchester United getting off pretty lucky given how bad he was for the club. What the future has in store for the Dutchman nobody knows, but if Memphis can adapt to life quickly at Lyon he could be an instant hit.
7. Wilfried Zaha
Like Memphis Depay, when Wilfried Zaha first arrived at Manchester United he was tipped to be the next Cristiano Ronaldo and unfortunately came nowhere near to living up to that billing. Zaha caught the attention of United after bursting onto the scene in the 2011-12 Championship season as a 19-year old with Crystal Palace. A year and a half later the 5’11 winger made a £10m move to Manchester United with the club having hopes of him becoming a future star. Zaha never lived up to his potential at United though, making just 4 appearances for David Moyes’ men before being loaned back to Palace and eventually bought back by them the same season for a £6m fee. Wilfried Zaha was a complete bust at Manchester United but given his form this season for Crystal Palace he may have a bright future ahead of him after all and could easily find himself at a big club within the next couple of years.
6. Radamel Falcao
Once upon a time Radamel Falcao was one of the world’s greatest footballers. In two seasons with Atletico Madrid he scored a stunning 70 goals in 91 appearances and won back to back Europa Leagues with FC Porto (2010-11) and Atletico (2011-12) while being the competition’s top scorer both times. He even broke the record for most goals in a single European club competition with 17 for Porto in 2010-11, a record that still stands even despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s crazy antics last year in the UEFA Champions League. But after a big money move to AS Monaco and a torn ACL after just half a season with the club his career really began to decline. But still when Manchester United signed the Colombian for £6 million just so that they could get him on loan for a year, there was a high amount of optimism that the centre forward would lead United back to the glory of the Sir Alex Ferguson days. However, the forward was clearly still not back to his best after that horrible injury and whilst making £265k-a-week, scored just 4 goals in 29 appearances for the club. Falcao’s reputation and confidence alike would forever be tainted after that and after an even less successful loan spell at Chelsea he returned to AS Monaco. Falcao has looked pretty much back to his best in recent months though, albeit and no disrespect it is only Ligue 1, scoring 12 goals in 14 league appearances this season. However when you score the same amount of goals as Chris Smalling did that season, you can’t possibly be thought of as anything less than a failure.
5. Massimo Taibi
Generally regarded as one of Manchester United’s worst ever players, Massimo Taibi quickly found himself being called ‘The Blind Venetian’ just months after his arrival at the club. Living up to the high standards set by Peter Schmeichel was never going to be easy for Taibi, but the Italian goalkeeper failed for the club in every regard. After three really poor performances and oddly enough one man of the match performance against Liverpool the 6’3 goalkeeper lost his place to both Mark Bosnich and Raimond van der Gouw, becoming the club’s third choice goalkeeper. Those four appearances were the only four he would make for the club before he was loaned out to Reggina in January of the season he joined, eventually making a permanent move to the club at the end of the season.
4. Rodrigo Possebon
Rodrigo Possebon arrived to Manchester United from Internacional as a 19-year old back in 2008. 3 appearances later he was whisked away by Santos where he made just 8 appearances. The Brazilian was at the time of his transfer to United generally regarded as a player of great potential and like many Brazilian footballers had a tremendous amount of skill on the ball. But after getting injured in his second appearance for the club he wasn’t ever able to earn his way back into the side and was loaned out to Braga, where he didn’t play a single minute of football, before being sold to Santos in 2010. Since then he’s played for 7 different clubs and now 27-years old has still only made 73 senior appearances, just 27 of those coming in league play. Possebon was never really given a chance to show his true worth at United but selling him when they did was probably the right move as given his failures at every single club he’s ever played at, he might be the worst player they’ve ever had.
3. Dong Fangzhuo
Dong Fangzhuo is the only Chinese player in Manchester United’s history and unfortunately given his track record the Red Devils won’t be inclined to buy another player from the world’s most populous country anytime soon. Fangzhuo’s move to the Red Devils was a strange one as after going pro in 2000, he made just 28 league appearances in China over a 2-year span, scoring just 2 goals. Maybe the Red Devils wanted a rise in shirt sales from China, who knows? The striker joined Manchester United in 2004 and despite making just three competitive appearances for the club it took four years before he was offloaded back to China. In that four-year spell, Fangzhuo made just 1 Premier League appearance and was loaned out to Royal Antwerp for two years. The forward never went on to become anything special after leaving United and retired from football at the age of 28.
2. Eric Djemba-Djemba
Tipped to be the next Roy Keane upon his arrival, Eric Djemba-Djemba will forever be considered one of Manchester United’s worst ever players. Djemba-Djemba cost the Red Devils just £3.5million in 2003 but it was £3.5million too much as the Cameroonian never adapted to life in the Premier League. The central midfielder made just 20 league appearances for Sir Alex Ferguson and failed to score a goal in that time, failing to live up to the boots of a United legend. After two seasons with the club Djemba-Djemba was sold to Aston Villa for £1.5 million where he failed again and was loaned out to Burnley where, you guessed it, he failed again. He now plays for a club so bad that they don’t even have a Wikipedia page.
The worst player in Manchester United’s history, Bebe, cost the Red Devils £7.4 million back in 2010. This was a random act of kindness to the then homeless Bebe who suddenly found himself much richer. Sir Alex Ferguson had only met the player the day before the transfer was confirmed and never watched him play. Instead the Portugeuse forward was recommended to him by his former assistant Carlos Queiroz who has probably never been trusted with a transfer suggestion ever again. Ferguson signed the player for a hefty fee just five weeks after he had joined Vitoria de Guimaraes, a club he never played for and in four years at Manchester United made just 2 league appearances. In that time he was loaned out to three different clubs, probably never learnt a word of English, was sold to Benfica in 2014 and after making just 1 league appearance for them was finally sold to Eibar in 2016. The Portuguese forward will forever go down as the biggest flop in the history of the club.
So there it is! The 10 Biggest Flops in Manchester United’s history since the Premier League began in 1992. It has to be said that Memphis Depay is one of the most talented players on this list it at a different club with a different manager could be a massive success. The Mastermind wishes him all the best at Olympique Lyonnais, but for now it can’t be ignored that he is one of the biggest failures that Manchester United have ever had.
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