Bengaluru, January 31: January has long been regarded as a difficult time to sign top quality players and Manchester United have mostly been a cautious spender during this period. Since 2003, United have signed 18 players in January either on loan or on a permanent deal. However, only a handful of them have turned out to be a hit.
United have mostly spent heavily in January only after Sir Alex Ferguson's departure and it continues this season too after the Red Devils signed one of their long term target Bruno Fernandes on the eve of the deadline day.
The Portuguese star became the fourth player to join the Premier League side from Sporting and United's costliest addition in the January window. Here we look at some other high profile January signings of the Red Devils and how they fared at the Theatre of dreams:
Louis Saha – 2004
Ferguson broke the bank in January 2004 to sign the French forward from Fulham to bolster the club’s attacking options which already had Ruud van Nistelrooy and current boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the ranks.
Saha helped Fulham gain promotion the previous year and was in fine form in the Premier League the foolowing season too. Initially, he settled pretty well in the side and scored seven goals in the first 12 games. However, injuries hampered his progress and a year later the arrival of Wayne Rooney saw him fall down the pecking order. But still, he made an important contribution to the side in his four and half year stay at United where he won two Premier League titles, a League Cup and the Champions League.
Nemanja Vidic- 2006
One of the best signings in United's history, the Serbian legend arrived at Old Trafford in January with a modest fashion. From his first few months of action, very few people would have predicted his central-defensive partnership with Rio Ferdinand would flourish, but slowly he started showing his true colours. He went on to become United captain, and during his time at the club, he won almost every possible trophy at club level, becoming one of the finest central defenders to grace the Premier League if not the world.
Patrice Evra- 2006
Evra arrived alongside Vidic in 2006 from AS Monaco to provide competition for Gabriel Heinze at left-back. The French left-back too struggled at first, but soon became a regular presence in the United team. His never give up style and drive to support the attack perfectly complemented United's style of play, and he went on to become one of the best left-backs of Manchester United as well Premier League. During his eight years stay at United, Evra won two league titles, three League Cups and the 2008 Champions League.
Juan Mata - 2014
Mata was the then record January addition in United history before Bruno's arrival and it is fair to say he somehow has had a mixed time at Old Trafford. The Spaniard was a key player for Chelsea, however he could not find his feet after Jose Mourinho's arrival. He then decided to change ship with United. But compared to his performances with Chelsea where he won the Champions League, FA Cup and Europa League alongside being voted as the club’s Player of the Year for consecutive seasons, he has not made such a big impact yet at Old Trafford. However, he surely has been a key player in the side during the Red Devils' transition period but certainly, the best days are perhaps now behind him.
Alexis Sanchez - 2018
Sanchez arguably was one of the best players in the league when United swapped him for Henrikh Mkhitaryan with Arsenal. But surely his time in the United jersey has been an utter failure. Barring some brilliance against the likes of Manchester City, Spurs and Arsenal the Chilean was mostly dreadful at Old Trafford and only managed to make a handful of appearances due to injury issues. He scored just five goals in 45 games costing the club a humungous £500,000 a week which surely has proved to be one of the worst investments in the club’s history. He is currently on loan to Inter but due to return in the summer.