Having first come into the club with a minority stake in 2003, it took Malcolm Glazer just two years to own 75% of shares in Manchester United.
By the summer of 2005, the Red Devils were majority owned by the Glazer family, who had taken out a loan against the club’s assets to acquire the stake, putting United into debt for the first time since being saved in 1931.
Plenty of controversy has followed ever since and with the club’s decline on the pitch, the Glazers have continually come under fire for their running of proceedings. So, why not rank each transfer window since their majority ownership from 2005/06?
Arrivals: Antonio Valencia, Michael Owen, Gabriel Obertan, Mame Biram Diouf
Departures: Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Fraizer Campbell, Manucho, Lee Martin, Danny Simpson
Now, we appreciate that replacing Ronaldo who had left for a world record fee is a tad difficult. But Michael Owen on a free, really?
United needed a marquee arrival in 2009/10 to bolster gaping holes in the squad left by Tevez and Ronaldo’s departures. It’s a miracle that Sir Alex Ferguson ran them so close to Chelsea in the Premier League title race.
Arrivals: Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata
Departures: Paul Scholes (retired)
Ferguson didn’t exactly leave David Moyes the best squad, but that wasn’t all his fault by this point.
And while Moyes was short changed there, he did himself no favours. Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara, Gareth Bale and Sami Khedira were all linked, but Fellaini’s deadline day signing and Juan Mata’s January capture was all he got.
Arrivals: Bebe, Chris Smalling, Javier Hernandez, Anders Lindegaard
Departures: Zoran Tosic, Ben Foster, James Chester
After dealing with an underwhelming 2009/10 transfer window that cost United the title, they were back with a vengeance. Except they weren’t.
‘Chicharito’ proved a huge coup for the Red Devils and quickly became a fan favourite for his super sub exploits. But other than that, this was still a largely depleted squad that Ferguson somehow dragged to a Premier League title.
Arrivals: Fred, Diogo Dalot, Lee Grant
Departures: Daley Blind, Sam Johnstone, Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick (retired)
After this summer, just about everyone knew Jose Mourinho’s time at United was coming to an end rather imminently.
Mourinho was vocal about his squad’s needs, particularly another centre back, as they were linked with Harry Maguire and winger Ivan Perisic. United didn’t back him, though, despite giving him a new deal, and the season fell to bits shortly after. Shambolic running of the club.
Arrivals: Donny van de Beek, Edinson Cavani, Alex Telles, Amad, Facundo Pellistri
Departures: Chris Smalling, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Marcos Rojo, Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard
After a fine first full season in charge where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was backed sufficiently, they needed to follow up well. They just about hung in there.
After capturing Van de Beek and Telles, United dawdled and panic signed a free agent Cavani as well as two young wingers, not ready for the first team. Could pay off in the long run, but far from the best recruitment.
Arrivals: Michael Carrick, Tomasz Kuszczak, Henrik Larsson
Departures: Ruud van Nistelrooy, David Jones, Jonathan Spector, David Bellion, Luke Steele, Eddie Johnson
Bringing in Carrick from Tottenham was exciting business from United, who continued to build a freakishly strong and versatile midfield roster.
However, they failed to replace a departing Van Nistelrooy until January. They won the league, but loaning in Henrik Larsson in January was – while insanely cool – a real sign of recruitment mishap.
Arrivals: Memphis Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Anthony Martial, Sergio Romero, Matteo Darmian
Departures: Angel di Maria, Javier Hernandez, Jonny Evans, Robin van Persie, Nani, Rafael, Angelo Henriquez, Reece James
A whirlwind summer at Old Trafford, that was nothing short of properly weird. And a touch depressing, as signings aged like milk.
Cursed memories of the ‘Schmidfield’ that proved a car crash, Angel Di Maria gone after a season, and Sergio Romero announced at midnight in the UK.
Arrivals: Ashley Young, David de Gea, Phil Jones
Departures: John O’Shea, Gabriel Obertan, Mame Biram Diouf, Wes Brown, Danny Drinkwater, Darron Gibson, Owen Hargreaves
Plenty of deadwood cleared at the end of a title winning season, as Ferguson continued to go down the best English talents route.
Phil Jones didn’t turn out to be the second coming of Duncan Edwards, but Ashley Young was a fine servant with a wonder goal in him. That David de Gea lad, too. He didn’t do so badly replacing Edwin van der Sar after that shaky start.
Arrivals: Dimitar Berbatov, Zoran Tosic, Ritchie De Laet
Departures: Gerard Pique, Chris Eagles, Mikael Silvestre, Louis Saha, Michael Barnes, Fangzhuo Dong, Ritchie Jones, Michael Lea
Losing Gerard Pique and an injury prone Louis Saha wasn’t all that bad for United – until Pique turned into a world beater, obviously.
While the arrivals weren’t cramming the reception desk at Old Trafford, snatching a prime Berbatov from Spurs was one hell of a deal. He added to an attack that was already absolutely unworldly, and made it better.
Arrivals: Ander Herrera, Daley Blind, Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, Victor Valdes
Departures: Danny Welbeck, Shinji Kagawa, Alexander Buttner, Wilfried Zaha, Bebe, Patrice Evra, Federico Macheda, Davide Petrucci, Rio Ferdinand, Darren Fletcher, Anderson, Ryan Giggs (retired)
On paper, there was not a more perfect window. Deadwood out, big names in alongside a manager who had just finished third at the World Cup.
That was it, though. In FIFA Career Mode fashion, big signings flopped and the manager was looking a bit past it. Everything that could’ve gone wrong unfortunately did.
Arrivals: Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic, Victor Lindelof, Alexis Sanchez
Departures: Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Adnan Januzaj, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Guillermo Varela
When you appoint Mourinho, you have to be all in for the best results. United did that, and they were mightily close to it paying off.
Lukaku and Matic were huge additions to the starting XI and while Lindelof struggled for consistency, Mourinho made it work for the most part. Second in the Premier League and FA Cup runners up; fine margins that could’ve been solved with a better 2018/19 window.
Arrivals: Carlos Tevez, Owen Hargreaves, Nani, Anderson, Rodrigo Possebon, Manucho
Departures: Gabriel Heinze, Giuseppe Rossi, Alan Smith, Kieran Richardson, Tim Howard, Phil Bardsley, Phil Marsh, Souleymane Mamam, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (retired)
Heinze was an admittedly large loss for United, but with quality draped through the squad, Ferguson was ready to charge again in arguably United’s best era.
Tevez gave United a new tactical approach, while Hargreaves could’ve been special if he had stayed fit. Nani starred from young and Anderson also looked bright as they won the Premier League and Champions League; whatever happened to him?
Arrivals: Robin van Persie, Shinji Kagawa, Wilfried Zaha, Nick Powell, Angelo Henriquez, Alexander Buttner
Departures: Dimitar Berbatov, Park Ji-sung, Ritchie De Laet, Tomasz Kuszczak, Zeki Fryers, Michael Owen
Clearing as much deadwood as possible in his final season in charge, Ferguson made a few solid signings as well as the obvious Van Persie capture.
The Dutchman was perfect for that moment, firing United to number 20 when needed. But that was it, and after Ferguson left, there was an ageing and depleted squad left behind with plenty of youth players left to pick up the pieces.
Arrivals: Park Ji-sung, Edwin van der Sar, Ben Foster, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra
Departures: Phil Neville, Kleberson, Roy Keane, Michael Stewart, David Poole, Steven Hogg, Roy Carroll, Ricardo, Paul Tierney, Colin Heath
Before the Glazers had truly gotten to business in transforming what was now their club, United put together a vitally important two transfer windows.
Park and Van der Sar thrived on the importance given to them by Ferguson, while the January captures of Vidic and Evra speak for themselves. Two of the greatest mid-season purchases in history. Genius.
Arrivals: Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Eric Bailly
Departures: Memphis Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Victor Valdes, Nick Powell, Paddy McNair, Tyler Blackett, Will Keane
In came Jose Mourinho who had been destined for the United job for so long, and following him in were four A-list stars.
Some deadwood was shifted, youthful players who weren’t quite good enough included, and in came Ibrahimovic on a free and the returning Pogba. Carabao Cup and Europa League winners, there was suddenly serious potential in this United team.
Arrivals: Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Daniel James, Bruno Fernandes, Odion Ighalo
Departures: Romelu Lukaku, Chris Smalling, Matteo Darmian, Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, James Wilson, Ander Herrera
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the man to finally free up a United squad full of players that didn’t fit his mould, and risk playing with a lacking squad in order to set the club on the right tracks again.
United persevered without a Lukaku replacement, but the progress made was immense. Maguire, Wan-Bissaka and Bruno Fernandes created an impactful and talented spine once more, and created a platform to build from. Now, it’s time to deliver.