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United’s worst 5 Premier League summer signings

Tiago Manuel Dias Ferreira bebe with man united staff fergusonWhat a glorious sporting summer we’ve had so far. The Lions, Andy Murray, Chris Froome and now England’s display in the Ashes are all conspiring to achieve the unthinkable: surpassing 2012 as Britain’s best ever summer. Throw in scorching hot temperatures and sunshine and you’ll see that the 2013 vintage is as good, if not superior, to its counterpart of 12 months ago.

For those of you thinking that racquets, oval balls and bikes are all well and good but do little to allay fears borne out of United’s inactivity in the transfer window, and for those Reds who firmly believe Shane Watson has more chances of avoiding being trapped lbw than David Moyes has of landing a top player before the transfer window shuts, fear not.

Chelsea and Manchester City might have been throwing money left, right and centre as per usual, but United’s history shows that, at times, not buying is an altogether preferable option than buying, even as far as the midfield is concerned. So, fasten your seatbelts, here’s a top 5 of the worst United’s summer signing ever.

5. Juan Sebastian Veron

There was a time when United not only signed midfielders, but they were even eager to splash cash on top class players. As Veron arrived at Old Trafford in the summer of 2001 from Lazio for a then record British transfer fee of £28.1m, the majority of Reds – including the one compiling this list – were so excited at the prospect of the Argentinian linking up with Ruud Van Nistelrooy that nothing, it seemed, could possibly go wrong.

Alas, a lot could go wrong and most of it would, as Veron struggled to recapture the form of his dominant displays with Lazio and Argentina as he failed to adapt with the pace and physicality of English football. “He’s a marvellous player and Juan will bring a personality to the team which I feel we need at this moment. I feel we need a challenge,” said Fergie of the Argentinian who impressed in his first outings for the club, before falling down the pecking order and only partially recover in his second, and last, season at the club, which saw him adding a Premier League winner’s medal to his trophy cabinet.

“He’s a fucking great player, and you’re all fucking idiots,” thundered Fergie when one journalist too many had dared to criticise the Argentinian.

4. Kleberson

As Veron was shipped out without much fanfare in 2003, United took the rather hilarious decision to replace the South American flop with another South American flop. In fairness, Kleberson had won the World Cup with Brazil 12 months earlier and had been described by Felipe Scolari as the “driving force” of his team, plus he costed less than half – £6.5m – of what United had pocketed by selling Veron to Chelsea.

United beat Newcastle and Leeds United (remember them? They used to be a mid-table club in the Premier League a couple of years ago) to the Brazilian playmaker, who got duly injured in his second game for the club and departed after two largely unsuccessful seasons in which he managed to notch a grand total of 20 league appearances.

On a brighter note, Kleberson at least didn’t consume the amount of food a fellow Brazilian who would arrive at the club only two years later would go on to become famous for. Yes, Anderson, we are talking about you.

3. Eric Djemba-Djemba

There was a time when United still purchased midfielders. Unfortunately for United fans, the Cameroonian had neither the ability, nor the mentality to establish himself as a serious challenger for a midfield berth, despite joining the club when United were in a period of transition. Signed from Nantes for £3.5m in the summer of 2003, the man “so good they named him twice” did very little to ensure long lasting memories of himself at Old Trafford, apart from clattering Sol Campbell in the Community Shield and scoring a cracker against Leeds, which, in fairness, is more than enough for us.

2. Massimo Taibi

How do you replace arguably the greatest keeper of the modern era, who also proved to be a spectacular bargain and who ended up lifting the Champions League in his last game for the club, thereby completing an unprecedented Treble? Well, by plucking an unknown 29-year-old from the obscurity of a relegation-threatened club in the Italian Serie A for £4.5m and throwing in at the deep end of the Premier League pool, obviously.

Taibi’s opening display against Liverpool was a mixture of shocking errors and outstanding saves but, unfortunately for United, the former would soon disappear from his performances as Taibi went on to be nicknamed “The Blind Venetian” by a popular newspaper, after allowing a Matt Le Tissier’s shot to dribble through his legs and into the net.

The fact that the Italian played only four games in 12 months for the club at a time when his only competitors were Raymond Van Der Gouw and Mark Bosnich speaks volume for the sheer ineptitude he displayed on the pitch, which earned him an automatic top-3 spot in any “Fergie’s worst signing ever contest”.

1. Tiago Bebe

As usual, when the topic of conversation concerns United’s questionable decisions in the transfer window, there can only be one winner, for the Portuguese winger is the ultimate lottery winner. Bebe isn’t  so much a case of winning the lottery without even buying a ticket as of winning the lottery despite being completely unaware of its existence.

A player who could have considered himself lucky enough at having signed with Vitoria de Guimaraes – a mid-table side in the Portuguese league, but a professional side nonetheless – then famously struck gold when, after netting five goals in six friendlies (FRIENDLIES!!!) United agreed to purchase him thanks, in no small measure, to some unscrupulous agent’s work.

Vitoria de Guimaraes only pocketed 60% of the £7.4m United forked out, which goes to show the true nature of the deal, while Bebe’s embarrassing shortcomings were laid bare during his first season at the club in which, miraculously, he managed to net in the Champions League.

“He told me to cut my hair, it will look better. So I cut it the same day. In the next training session, he didn’t recognise me. I went past him many times and he didn’t know me,” said Bebe of Sir Alex.

That, pretty much, sums his United career up.




  1. 5beats3

    22 July 2013 at 17:39

    Worst 5 players you have are Nani, Anderson, Welbeck, Smalling and Young if you want my view on it. All 5 of them are worse than those ones in the list above. Nani and Anderson are so terrible you would probably be better off putting Bebe into the team.

    I have never seen a player so greedy and poor as Nani. God knows why this board seems to have a hard on for him because all he does is annoy the crowd and shoot into row z.

    Anderson is a joke. Trust me as a neutral when I say that the fact you are looking like giving Anderson yet another season is becoming a great source of humour for fans of your rivals. He is massively overweight, lazy and just plain useless. Ask yourselves would he get in the side at any other top 6 club then also try and figure out just why you keep playing him. Mind blowing.

    As for the rest, Welbeck is pathetic and if it wasn’t for the fact that he is homegrown he would be out of the door. If it was Hernandez who scored 2 goals all season do you think he would keep getting chances? No way, its a pure homegrown/English bias. Same goes for Smalling and Young. If they were not English they would be gone. Both the definition of average and overpriced.

    I could also make a case for Lindegaard, Evans, Buttner, Evra, Cleverley, Valencia and Fabio being way beyond the standards that people expect from a great United team but I best stop there because lets face it, if I pick out everyones faults you will have no players left hahahaha!!!

    I would say you are in for a hiding off a few sides this season especially as the only signings you are realistically going to make are Baines and Fellaini along with the fact that you have replaced Fergie with Steady Eddie.

    Good luck. Your going to need it!

    • Adaboy

      22 July 2013 at 17:52

      “Trust me as a neutral”
      Now with that usual name I suspect you may not be so neutral so can ignore any comment there after- However, just for a bit for fun, please let us know which club you support.

      • The Truth

        22 July 2013 at 23:51

        @Adaboy: It’s Liverpool, hence his username.

    • Dan

      22 July 2013 at 18:46

      Anderson is a joke, that we can agree on. Nani, well, i’m not his biggest fan, however I can, at times, understand the point of those advocating his staying at the club even though, if it was up to me, he would have left a long time ago. Welbeck and Cleverley? Not world class but I’d rather have them then, say, Henderson or Borini. If Evans continues his development he could go on to become one of the best defenders in Europe and, finally, trust me as a neutral when I say that 20 is much, much better than 18.

      • jos

        22 July 2013 at 18:50

        @Dan: In a sense nani is one of the worst signing for the simple reason the man has unquestionable talent but hasnt been a success with us! Who knows, if he had signed with another team he might have become one of the great players rahter than a squad player at united.

        if you do not have talent and fail, thats one thing. If you have talent and still fail, well you are a failure! nani is one.

        • Ragnar

          23 July 2013 at 07:54

          Nani cannot become a success anywhere. In terms of ability and talent he is one of the best wingers in the world, but he is the equivalent of a retard when it comes to having a football brain.

    • Opti

      22 July 2013 at 18:46

      @5beats3: These “Worst 5 players” have more league titles between them than your “Great” player: Gerrard. Dream on.

    • The Truth

      22 July 2013 at 23:52

      @5beats3: His worst five United players are all black. Are you Luis Suarez?

    • lynford anderson

      23 July 2013 at 02:52

      who u support cuz that must be a perfect team cuz we won the league so wat wrong with the other teams u r a load of u know wat

    • The_Philosopher

      23 July 2013 at 07:51

      @5beats3: Its funny how all our crap players keep winning trophies.

      What does that say about your players?

    • tonymontanna4united

      23 July 2013 at 21:43

      @5beats3: Yeah there are some flops on that list.
      But for every bebe, obertan and tosic I can think of diouf, baros, traore, kewell, dudek, morientes, kromkamp, cisse, riera, keane, bellamy, degan, aquilaini, ngog, pennant, cole, poulsen, konchesky, voronin, babel, mark gonzealez, downing, Henderson, the £35m man himself, mr andy carroll 😆 , all of whom must feature pretty highly on your clubs list 🙄
      Ouch, that’s enough to depress anyone 😆 😆 :mrgreen:

  2. colver

    22 July 2013 at 21:46

    3beats is a wind up merchant but I think we can admit he struck a nerve on some of those players.

    Smalling for me is a waste of money. Way too easily bullied. He would have been better off spending a few more seasons at a midtable club before making the step up.

    Young is the very definition of average. I can’t believe we paid £15 million for him when he only had a year left on his contract.

    Anderson can’t stay fit and his best performances were in his first season which says it all. Admittedly he does have five good games a season but you just get the feeling he is free loading.

    Nani has all the promise in the world but somehow it just hasn’t worked out. He is fantastic for Portugal. But he doesn’t seem to mesh with our players in the same way. I think part of it is the defensive duties he is burdened with. If he was played higher up the pitch and given more license to cut inside and given unconditional love from Moyes I think he could come good again.

    Welbeck is too goal shy to be a striker but I think like Thierry Henry he could be a late developer. His movement is fabulous. His performance against Real Madrid in the first half was little short of spectacular. If I was Moyes I would play a 4-3-3 with Welbeck and Nani either side of Van Persie.

    • The Truth

      22 July 2013 at 23:56

      @colver: Don’t humour this mouthbreather. If we tried to come up with a list of the 5 worst Liverpool players we’d be here all night. I’m not sure I can even name 5 of their starting XI these days. They are an irrelevance.

      By the way, 20 beats 18. 8)

    • The_Philosopher

      23 July 2013 at 07:49

      @colver: Where have you been my whole life!

      Smalling needs to go out on loan. He needs to play week in and week out.

      Young is totally average.

      Anderson is good when he’s on his game. If only he could keep the weight off as well.

      And I totally agree with you. If Moyes shows Nani some unconditional love and holds his hand before every game he actually might turn on some form. But he is totally devastating when he his in form.

      And Nani does play well for Portugal. So maybe its also the style that Man Utd plays that doesn’t quite work for him.

      I also totally agree with you about playing Nani up front almost as a striker I think he would be very happy up there. His problem has always been his defensive duties that he is not so keen on.

      Maybe we can find away around that.

      4-3-3 with Nani, Zaha and RVP would be better for me. Although Welbeck might be a more solid option than Zaha at this point in time.

      Welbeck is going to get better. So I think I’m gonna take a back step from some of my previous comments about us selling him. He has great energy and application. And if he can add goals to his game then he can a solid squad player.

  3. Everton

    25 July 2013 at 08:28

    I wish this list was expanded to 10 worst united signings!its still a good list though.At number 6 – That ‘Fat Lazy B#*+@,d’ Anderson.What does this guy actually do?I am literally,the only United fan on the continent of Africa who can see this chap for what he is.A total waste of good money and a sub-standard midfielder who is to lazy to train and work hard in matches.Useless.At number 7,everyone’s least favorite number 18,Ashley Young.I was so confused,and still am,as to why Sir Alex bought him in the first place.he can’t dribble,he has a poor goalscoring record and his crosses into the box are few and far in between.doesn’t deserve to wear Master Scholes’ jersey!At number 8 – Anders Lindergaard.Sure,we didn’t pay that much for him and maybe I’m being a bit harsh,but I now see why Lord Schmeicel said he wasn’t good enough for Man United.He isn’t.At number 9 – Jesper Blomqvist.I had such high hopes for this dude.I guess when he said he was happy at parma and didn’t want to come to united we should have known where we stand.a total waste of time.Last,but not least,at number 10 – Federico Macheda.Sure,we will always be gratefull for those two goals against Villa and Sunderland,but seriously,this kid failed to live up to his potential,even though he is only 21.Arrogant and lazy it would seem is his key attributes.Not worth the trouble caused when we bought him from Lazio.he should be sent packing back to Italy as soon as possible so he can save his dying career.Moyes must give some of the lads in the academy a chance to prove themselves at the highest level this season.while I am not naïve as to expect all the united fans to agree with me,I honestly believe that sometimes,you don’t need to spend loads of pounds to bring in the best.I believe that sometimes the best is right under your nose.Here’s hoping Iingaard and co. prove me right.

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