SIR ALEX FERGUSON left Manchester United with the Premier League trophy – but a raft of bad signings has seen it taken away with little sign of returning.
A massive £323.7million has been splashed on 11 particularly dodgy deals.
The worst XI of bad signings predominantly features attackers as the Red Devils failed to replace the likes of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie.
Romelu Lukaku cost an initial £75m and United struggled to find takers when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decided to offload the Belgian to Inter where he thrived, before re-joining Chelsea.
A promising first season was lost with a drop-off in 2018-19, scoring at an average of one every three games before leaving for Italy.
At the very least, Lukaku provided some memorable moments but the same cannot be said for Angel Di Maria.
The winger arrived with much fanfare in 2014 and quickly dropped off the pace, shepherded out to Paris Saint-Germain where he painfully found the form he lacked in England.
The next expensive error was Fred who joined for £52m, but he still has time to prove himself at Old Trafford.
In the slightly more affordable but nonetheless useless category are Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Morgan Schneiderlin, who came in for £30m and £27m respectively.
Still, United recouped most of the fee they spent on French anchor man Schneiderlin when he joined Everton but Mkhitaryan’s exit saw Alexis Sanchez arrive – making the Chilean’s initial fee cheap and yet still a huge disappointment.
Among those who arrived with potential and waited until after leaving to go on to great things is Memphis Depay.
Now a star at Barcelona and with the Dutch national team, his baffling form in the 2015/16 season showed that United had lost their touch when turning young gems into superstars.
Many United fans point to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward as the chief architect of these abysmal deals.
While replacing the peerless David Gill was a tough assignment, and finding a man capable of replacing Fergie nigh-on impossible, there are serious questions over his approach.
Not only are these players examples of bad deals, managers such as Jose Mourinho were dismayed that not enough players were bought.
Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind were picked up in 2014 off the back of good World Cup campaigns – a strategy that rarely pays off and cost the club over £30m.
And although Matteo Darmian was an Italian international when plucked from Torino, Louis van Gaal’s exit cast him to the fringes.
Rounding off this worst XI are two short-term signings that never got to grips with the Premier League.
Perhaps the Red Devils thought they were pulling off a cunning piece of Andrea Pirlo-esque business when bringing in Bastian Schweinsteiger but, at 31, the German was far past his best during an 18-month spell.
Radamel Falcao was still in his late-20s when arriving on loan in 2014 on a £6m fee and massive wage combination yet hit just four goals in 29 games.
Of course, not all of Fergie’s signings hit the right note – just ask Kleberson, Eric Djemba Djemba or Juan-Sebastian Veron.