- Top teams do not commonly release their players to rival teams. However, some players have joined rival teams and achieved success.
- Several players have joined Manchester United from rival teams over the years. Some have failed, whereas some have achieved success.
- Alexis Sanchez is the most recent player to join Manchester United from a rival team. The winger joined the Red Devils from Arsenal in January 2018.
Manchester United is one of the most successful teams in Europe. The English Premier League giants were a dominant force during Sir Alex Ferguson’s time as the manager. The club won numerous trophies.
Manchester United had some of the best players in Europe during those days. The Red Devils signed players from different teams in Europe. However, it was not common for Manchester United to sign top players from rival teams such as Arsenal and Chelsea.
There are only a few players who joined Manchester United from rival clubs. The last player Manchester United signed from a rival team was Alexis Sanchez in 2018.
This article will examine the top five players who joined Manchester United from rival clubs in recent years.
5. Alexis Sanchez
The 33 years old Inter Milan winger is the last player Manchester United signed from a rival club in the English Premier League. Alexis Sanchez joined Manchester United during the winter transfer window of 2018.
Sanchez was part of a swap deal that saw Henrik Mkhitaryan join Arsenal from Manchester United. Sanchez was officially unveiled as a Red Devils player in January 2018 and was given the legendary number 7 shirt.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City wanted to sign Alexis Sanchez but the Chilean international preferred Manchester United probably due to the exorbitant wages that were offered to him.
Manchester United thought Arsenal had sold them another star like Robin van Persie who would help them win a major trophy. However, things didn’t go as expected with Alexis Sanchez at Manchester United.
Sanchez didn’t like Manchester United from his first day of training. The winger struggled to impress, and after 18 months at the English club, he was loaned out to Inter Milan. His move to Inter Milan was made permanent in the summer of 2020.
Alexis Sanchez left Manchester United after making 45 appearances and scoring five goals.
4. Nemanja Matic
Nemanja Matic is one of the finest holding midfielders to ever play in the English Premier League. Matic is another player who joined Manchester United from a rival club in recent years.
The Serbian international joined Manchester United in the summer of 2017 after winning the English Premier League with Chelsea.
Manchester United needed an experienced defensive midfielder to help unleash Paul Pogba. The Red Devils paid 40.23 million euros to sign Nemanja Matic.
The Serbian international left Manchester United this summer after his contract expired. Nemanja Matic left Manchester United after making 188 appearances and scoring four goals. He also provided four assists during his time with the Red Devils.
3. Juan Mata
Juan Mata was one of the loved players at Old Trafford. The Spanish midfielder joined Manchester United from Chelsea during the 2014 January transfer window.
The Red Devils paid 40.26 million euros for Mata, who was then at his prime. However, things didn’t work out well for Juan Mata at Manchester United. The managers didn’t play him at his primary position. The central midfielder was often used as a winger and an attacking midfielder.
Mata left Manchester United this summer as a free agent after making 285 appearances. The Spanish international scored 51 goals and provided 47 assists for the Red Devils.
2. Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie is one of the best strikers to ever play in the English Premier League. He was a glorious striker who scored some iconic goals during his prime.
Robin van Persie spent eight seasons at Arsenal before joining Manchester United in 2012. The Manchester United fans often remember him for playing a crucial role as the team won the 2012-13 English Premier League title.
The Dutchman left Manchester United in 2015 after making 105 appearances and scoring 58 goals. He retired from professional football in 2019.
1. Dimitar Berbatov
Dimitar Berbatov is one of the most successful players who joined Manchester United in recent years. The Bulgarian striker joined Manchester United from Tottenham Hotspurs in 2008.
The Red Devils paid 34.2 million euros for Berbatov’s transfer. He helped Manchester United win two Premier League titles, a FIFA Club World Cup and a League Cup.
Berbatov, one of the most elegant strikers of all time, left Manchester United in 2014 January. The legendary striker retired in 2018 after playing for Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League.