Do you know that there are players ruined by Manchester United? Manchester United is a great club, no doubt, but the truth is that not every player has enjoyed donning the iconic red of the Red Devils, and those are the guys we’re focused on in today’s article.
These are 10 players ruined by Manchester United.
1. Donny van de Beek
Who better to start with than Donny van de Beek? This guy was one of the major players in Ajax’s crazy run to the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League in 2019; he scored against Juventus and Spurs in the quarter-final and semi-final of the Champions League that season, but he joined Man United in 2020 and everything just went downhill from there.
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Ole didn’t seem interested in using him at all. He started four Premier League games in his first season and none at all in his second. So, he was loaned out, but injuries didn’t help at all.
When Ten Hag got hired, we all thought van de Beek would get another chance under his former coach, but that didn’t happen. Now, this lad who was once a high-flier is having to move to Eintracht Frankfurt to try and resurrect his career at the age of 26.
2. Jadon Sancho
At the time Jadon Sancho joined Man United, he was on top of the world. This guy was in the Bundesliga Team of the Season in 2019 and 2020.
He even finished second at the 2019 Golden Boy and Kopa Trophy, but he joined Man United in 2021 and it started to look like he was a different person. His numbers dropped, his efficiency dropped, and everything dropped. Now, he has fallen out with ten Hag and it looks like he’s on his way out.
Honestly, if Sancho had just remained in Dortmund or joined another club, he would’ve gone much further in his career right now.
3. Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba is arguably the most gifted midfielder of his generation. The best decision of his life was leaving Man United in 2012 to go and flourish but his worst decision was going back in 2016.
When he joined Juventus in 2012, we saw Pogba fly. Golden Boy in 2013, multiple league titles including the domestic treble in 2015, Champions League final and FIFA FIFPro World 11 in 2015… he was really soaring.
But he returned to Man United in 2016, and his troubles began. From the very beginning, the pressure from his record-breaking price tag was so much from the fans and the media; it didn’t afford him a soft landing back at the club.
Heavily scrutinized by everyone and anyone, you could still see flashes of brilliance from Pogba every now and then, but he just was not the same person anymore. By the time he got out of Man United, his career was already gone and he could no longer revive it.
Now, even though he won the World Cup with France in 2018, the story of Paul Pogba is one of “what could have been” all because of Man United.
4. Anthony Martial
Another story of “what could have been” is of Anthony Martial, for sure.
For those who don’t know, Martial was so good that he was named Golden Boy in 2015 and when he moved to United that year, they made him the most expensive teenager in the world and even put a Ballon d’Or clause in his contract saying Man United would have to pay Monaco more money if he won the Ballon d’Or before June 2019.
That clause seems funny now in retrospect, but the truth is that, for a clause like that to be put into the contract of a teenager, it means that everyone expected him to become the best in the world, but Man United was just not the club for that; they ruined him and he has not been the same ever since.
5. Mason Mount
It seems we’re seeing a similar pattern with Mason Mount who just joined in the summer. Mount was great for Chelsea. I mean, this is a guy who has a Champions League-winning assist to his name, but we’re all currently watching his career being destroyed by Manchester United.
It might still be too early to say United has ruined him, but we’ve just seen this happen too many times before.
6. Shinji Kagawa
I mean, the OGs will remember Shinji Kagawa, the highest-scoring Japanese footballer in the history of UEFA club competitions. Just like Sancho, Kagawa moved from Dortmund where he was thriving and highly-rated to Manchester United. He became the first Japanese to sign for Man United and expectations were high, but it just didn’t happen for him.
He had just a few highlights at United; when he became the first Asian to score a Premier League hattrick and when he was named man of the match in Sir Alex Ferguson’s last home game as coach. But apart from that, Kagawa was not the man he was at Dortmund.
So, after just two years, he was sent back to Dortmund and that was the beginning of the end for him. He moved to Besiktas and then to Real Zaragoza, PAOK, and Sint-Truiden before then moving back to Japan to join Cerezo Osaka where it all started for him.
Yes, Kagawa still plays professional football, but how would you know when Man United effectively ruined his career?
7. Alexis Sanchez
We all know this list would not be complete without mentioning Alexis Sanchez. Man United hijacked the Chilean from Man City, and from the first day he stepped foot in training, he just knew he didn’t want to be there.
Sanchez was named PFA Fans’ Player of the Year in 2015, and even won the Copa America Golden Ball in 2016, all of a sudden forgot how to play football at Man United.
Sanchez was easily one of the best players in the league while he was at Arsenal and everybody wanted him, but United ruined him and changed the entire trajectory of his career.
8. Memphis Depay
Memphis Depay joined United from PSV at the age of 21 and was expected to dominate. Mind you, this 21-year-old kid had just finished as top scorer in the Eredivisie and was named France Football Best Young Player in 2015, but he joined Man United and the club found a way to ruin him.
Many say he fell to the club’s number 7 curse, but whatever you want to call it, those 2 years at United really did a whole lot of damage to Memphis.
9. Adnan Januzaj
The players who come out of their own academy aren’t even exempt from this. Adnan Januzaj joined United’s academy at 16 and got promoted at 18 when he started showing great potential, but instead of the club to nurture him, they put him under immense pressure and he cracked.
They called him the next Hazard, next Ronaldo, next everybody, but LvG and Mourinho refused to use him and he ended up leaving the club. Now, this guy who was once heralded as the future of Man United, plays for Istanbul Basaksehir.
10. Harry Maguire
But there’s one guy who seems to be successfully fighting the system – Harry Maguire. With the pressure, insults, memes, vitriol, and everything that was thrown at him, it’s safe to say Maguire’s career should’ve been ruined, but he insisted he wanted to stay and fight for his place and now he’s slowly getting back to top form, even winning the Premier League Player of the Month award for November 2023.
But what club would you say has ruined more players than United?
Drop the names in the comments and we’ll look into them.