In the transfer market, Manchester United have not been at their best in the past few years, drawing much criticism from the fans. Under Sir Alex Ferguson, United always managed to sign the players they wanted and sold players surplus to requirements consistently. In this article, we will look at five players Manchester United should not have released.
#5 Rafael da Silva
The twins Fabio and Rafael moved to United in the summer of 2008 from the Brazilian outfit Fluminese. Rafael was clearly the better player of the two and was consistently excellent as a right-back under Alex Ferguson. He was a crowd favorite at Old Trafford as his unlimited energy endeared him to many.
In 2015, Louis Van Gaal sold him, without any reason as United did not have a similar player in their ranks. After Rafael’s departure, United struggled for years without a proper right-back until the arrival of Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Rafael joined Lyon and had a moderately successful stint and now plays for Istanbul Basaksehir,
#4 Jonny Evans
Jonny Evans is yet another player who was sold by Louis Van Gaal, despite consistent performances. Evans was a United youth product and featured a lot during the last few seasons of Ferguson’s reign. He was sold to Leicester City in 2015 and he now captains the club.
What makes Evans’ even more bizarre is the fact that United did not have any credible option to partner with Chris Smalling. Phil Jones, Axel Tuanzebe and Rojo failed to match Evans’ potential in the next few seasons.
#3 Wilfried Zaha
Zaha’s tenure at Manchester United is head-scratching for a lot of reasons. United bought him from Crystal Palace with full understanding that he is a raw talent. But he was never given enough time to develop by David Moyes and United’s tactics too did not favour him.
After a forgettable year and a half at Manchester, Zaha returned to the palace in 2015. For the next five seasons, he enthralled the fans with his pace and was regarded by many as the best player outside the top six clubs. Manchester United should not have released him as they could have benefited from his pace and dribbling skills.
#2 Romelu Lukaku
After excellent performances at Everton Lukaku joined United in 2017 with much expected of him. Under Jose Mourinho, Lukaku had a decent PL season as he scored 16 goals from 34 appearances. Mourinho’s defensive methods meant that Lukaku never got enough supply from his teammates.
In 2019, he joined Inter Milan and has developed immensely as a footballer. He has scored 20+ Serie A goals and has also assisted his teammates regularly. Manchester United should not have released Lukaku as he would have enjoyed playing with Bruno Fernandes. He could yet make a dramatic return but recently assured reporters that he will not be moving in the summer.
#1 Paul Pogba
Pogba was never recognized as a big thing by United but the manner in which he left Old Trafford in 2012 still irks many fans. Alex Ferguson claimed his free transfer to Juventus as a huge disrespect for the club. Pogba went to Serie A and won four successive Serie A titles and reaching the final of the Champions League.
In 2016, United broke the world record transfer fee to sign Pogba and he arrived at United amidst huge expectations. It is safe to say that Pogba has not satisfied his price tag. Also, United have been made to look like fools for spending so much money on their own product after selling him for free.