The pressure is higher than ever on Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following last week’s humiliating five-goal defeat against Liverpool.
It is reported that Solskjaer is on the brink of losing his job following that defeat which means that United have picked up just one point from their last four Premier League matches.
The Norwegian will remain in his position for this weekend’s trip to Tottenham on Saturday and is likely to remain in the post for next week’s return Champions League clash against Atalanta before the Premier League home meeting against Manchester City.
Solskjaer is closing in on the three-year anniversary of his initial appointment as United boss on an interim basis and has made 14 signings at United in that time, helping to revolutionise the squad.
Here Mirror Football has ranked the 14 arrivals at Old Trafford under Solskjaer since his appointment.
14) Donny van de Beek
The £35million signing of Dutch international midfielder van de Beek from Ajax generated much excitement at Old Trafford last summer, but things have fallen flat since.
The 24-year-old has started in just four Premier League matches out of a possible 47 and has been a peripheral figure at the club.
His playing style shares similarities with Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, with the prominence of both under Solskjaer meaning playing time has been limited.
It cannot be ruled out that van de Beek transforms his fortunes at United but as things stand, it is impossible to rate him anywhere other than at the foot of this list.
13) Facundo Pellestri
The Uruguayan winger arrived on the final day of the transfer window in the summer of 2020 for a fee in the region of £8million.
Pellestri did not arrive at United until that January but he was swiftly loaned out to La Liga club Alaves – a deal that was extended this summer.
Aged just 19, Pellestri has been praised highly for his agility, technique and strategic vision on the pitch and he has now clocked up 22 first-team appearances at Alaves.
The winger is a raw diamond and yet to make his United debut – but it remains to be seen if he will have a long-term future in the club’s first-team squad.
12) Tom Heaton
Image:Action Images via Reuters)
Heaton, 35, was signed as a free agent this summer following his exit from Aston Villa, after more than a decade away from the club.
The goalkeeper has won three England international caps and has enjoyed a distinguished career across the top two divisions of English football.
He was always going to be third choice at Old Trafford behind David De Gea and Dean Henderson this season and may not make a first-team appearance.
11) Alex Telles
The Brazilian full-back was one of the multitude of deadline day arrivals at United in the summer of 2020, primarily to add competition to Luke Shaw at left-back.
The arrival of Telles saw a significant upturn in Shaw’s form – particularly offensively – in the year since, which has arguably been the most successful aspect of this signing.
Telles has featured in just nine Premier League matches and has played nothing more than a squad role under Solskjaer.
His best moment in a United shirt came in the Champions League comeback win over Villarreal, where he netted a superb strike from a Bruno Fernandes free-kick to level the score.
10) Odion Ighalo
The Nigerian international is a lifelong Man United fan and got his dream move on deadline day in January 2020 on a loan deal from Shanghai Shenhua.
He was signed as a back-up for Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, who had been overburdened that campaign, and despite playing just a bit-part role, it was a reasonably significant one.
Allowing Solskjaer to rotate in attack during a busy run of games, Ighalo netted five goals in 23 United appearances, with his half-volley after juggling the ball in a 5–0 win over LASK in February 2020 his highlight, winning the club’s goal of the month competition.
9) Jadon Sancho
Jadon Sancho enjoyed a starring role at Borussia Dortmund in his four seasons at the club, blossoming from a promising teenage winger into an established attacking star.
A perfect player for a 4-2-3-1 formation, Sancho netted 50 goals for Dortmund and even more assists – while also establishing himself in England’s senior squad.
Aged 21, there is plenty of time for him to settle at Old Trafford, but the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo pushed Mason Greenwood into the right-wing position which has meant a shift for Sancho.
Despite an 18-month pursuit for his signature, Sancho is yet to score a goal for United in 11 appearances to date, but is likely to prove his £73million value in the months and years to come.
8) Cristiano Ronaldo
The return of the Portuguese superstar following 12 years away from United caused a great deal of frenzy and excitement.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has netted six goals in nine appearances for the club since his return but accommodating him in the side has offset United’s attack and general shape.
The challenge for Solskjaer – or whoever potentially succeeds him in the dugout – must be centred around how to include Ronaldo in any side whilst maintaining a cohesive shape.
Perhaps keeping Ronaldo as a substitute for bigger matches and starting him against sides lower in the rankings may bring greater success.
7) Aaron Wan-Bissaka
It is easy to forget that Wan-Bissaka is still just a 23-year-old due to this being his fifth season in the Premier League – with defenders not normally maturing fully until their mid-20s.
Wan-Bissaka has made the right-back slot his own at United since his £50million move from Crystal Palace in the summer of 2019 and has clocked up 111 first-team appearances.
There is little doubt over his excellency in one-on-one defending but his positioning and attacking threat are both sometimes questioned – although these measurements may be harsh in a time of an overload of excellent right-backs in the division.
Would be higher up the list had it not been for the price tag, and could be a fixture in United’s team for another decade.
6) Dan James
The only arrival under Solskjaer who has subsequently left the club, what Daniel James lacked in natural ability he made up for in work ethic and dedication.
That is not intended to appear condescending; James scored nine goals in 74 United appearances and added a direct attacking threat while being a cast member for more talented attacking players to thrive.
Arriving from Swansea in a £16million deal, the Wales international joined Leeds this summer in a deal up to £26million – indisputably a very good piece of business from the Old Trafford board, which has not always been the case over the years.
5) Amad Diallo
The Ivorian forward made just five first-team appearances at Atalanta but came with a reputation that he was one of the hottest prospects in world football.
Amad celebrated his 19th birthday this summer having made a brief impact as a substitute in the latter stages of last season for United – scoring his first goal in the Europa League clash against Milan.
The teenager is a quick and dynamic player with a high technical ability and a good vision of the game and despite United’s big investment and show in faith in him, this could prove to be an excellent investment in the years to come.
A loan deal to Feyenoord this summer collapsed due to an injury, with a temporary January exit possible before a return to United’s first-team squad.
4) Harry Maguire
With a significant £80million investment from United and making the England international their club captain, this ranking may raise a few eyebrows.
Yet Maguire was a hugely consistent and influential figure across his first two seasons at United with his injury late last season making a significant impact, as he sat out the Europa League final against Villarreal.
The central defender impressed this summer for England and whilst his early season performances this campaign – amid fitness issues – have not convinced, there is little doubt over his importance.
Maguire is a leader who is comfortable on the ball and playing out from the back as well as strong in the air, with his turn of pace his one weakness – which led to the signing of Raphael Varane this summer.
3) Raphael Varane
Speaking of which, the arrival of Varane rightfully generated a great deal of excitement at United this summer.
The France international arrived in a reported £36million deal from Real Madrid this summer, a relative bargain, having been a transfer target for United for a decade.
The central defender won four Champions League titles at Madrid and has been a consistently calm and reassuring presence at the elite end of club and international football.
An early injury has ensured he is yet to settle into a run of games for United but this promises to be an excellent deal.
2) Edinson Cavani
The Uruguayan striker arrived at United as a free agent a year ago and has swiftly established himself as a fan favourite at Old Trafford.
He will celebrate his 35th birthday in February but still shows a supreme level of fitness and energy on the pitch – netting 17 goals in his debut season in English football.
Cavani extended his one-year deal by a further season, although his opportunities have been limited this season due to the arrivals of Ronaldo and Sancho.
A significant goal threat whenever he is on the pitch, expect plenty more goals from Cavani this campaign.
1) Bruno Fernandes
There is no disputing top spot, there is no discussion.
Bruno Fernandes has been nothing short of outstanding for Manchester United since his arrival from Sporting Lisbon in January 2020.
With United miles off the top four at that point, a Fernandes-inspired United finished the Premier League campaigns in third and second spots respectively.
He has netted 44 goals and provided 35 assists in 93 matches for United and has become one of their best performing stars of the past decade.Read More Read More