7 wonderkids who flopped after blockbuster Man Utd moves – including Kleberson

Manchester United have a proud of history of building teams with a blend of big-money signings and promising youngsters.

Whether it was the Class of 92 mixing with the likes of Eric Cantona and Andy Cole, or John O'Shea and Wes Brown rubbing shoulders with Ruud van Nistelrooy, United have always found a good balance between stars and starlets.

As one of the biggest clubs around, they've been able to nab a few of the world's most sought-after youngsters down the years.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney joined as teenagers before becoming club icons, but when it comes to buying wonderkids, United have had far more disasters than triumphs.

With that being said, Daily Star Sport has taken a look back at seven highly-rated youngsters who flopped after sealing blockbuster moves to Manchester United.

Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial arrived at Old Trafford from Monaco in 2015 with such potential.

His ceiling was so high that United inserted a Ballon d'Or-winning clause into his transfer fee – which eventually rose to £50 million.

Things began brightly for the Frenchman after he scored on his debut against Liverpool, but truth be told, that remains the high-point of his United career.

Lazy, unadventurous and impotent in front of goals are just a few of the barbs thrown his way in recent years, and fans have now completely stopped believing that superstardom is just a few good matches away for him.

The Red Devils thought they'd found the next Thierry Henry, and despite racking up over 250 appearances for the club, Martial has been a near total disappointment.

Which of these seven flops was the biggest disappointment for Manchester United? Let us know what you think in the comments section below…


As the story goes, Sir Alex Ferguson signed Bebe in 2010 despite the fact he'd never seen him play.

The club shelled out around £7.5 million for the 20-year-old, even though he only had one full season of senior football under his belt … in the Portuguese third tier.

Quickly, it became evident that Bebe wasn't anywhere near good enough for United, and he made just seven appearances before being shipped out on loan three times and eventually sold to Benfica for around £2 million.

During his spell at Old Trafford, fans began comically chanting 'if Bebe scores, we're on the pitch'. That's how dire he was.

Wilfried Zaha

It feels a little unfair to include Wilfried Zaha on this list because he's turned into a very decent player since leaving Old Trafford, but his spell in Manchester was an unmitigated disaster.

The Ivory Coast international has the honour of being Ferguson's very last signing, but never actually got to play for him as he was loaned back to Crystal Palace for the season.

Zaha failed to convince Ferguson's successor David Moyes that he was worthy of first team action and played just four times before re-joining Palace the following summer.

Phil Jones

Like Martial, Phil Jones has racked up a healthy amount of appearances for United over the years, but just like Frenchman he's never really lived up to the hype.

After signing him from Blackburn Rovers in 2011, Ferguson proclaimed that Jones had the potential to go down as the greatest player in Manchester United's history. No pressure then.

He wasn't totally out of his depth at Old Trafford, but Jones did little to convince anyone he could fill the shoes of Rio Ferdinand or Nemanja Vidic, or indeed go down in United history as Fergie predicted.

Instead, what fans will remember most are the ludicrously comical faces he would pull while throwing himself into challenges down the years.


United thought they'd nabbed a generational talent after paying nearly £30 million to sign Anderson from Porto in 2007.

The 20-year-old Brazilian had plenty of the tools to become a star, but at no point during his career at Old Trafford did he feel like demonstrating it.

Despite winning the prestigious Golden Boy award in 2008, Anderson underwhelmed season after season, eventually settling for a bit-part role in Ferguson's side.

He left the club in 2015 having failed to offer the fans a single particularly fond memory – save for a few goals in penalty shootouts.

Memphis Depay

After breaking through at PSV, Memphis Depay appeared to have the world at his feet and signed for Manchester United for £25 million following an impressive 28-goal season in Holland.

The exciting young forward joined at the same time as fellow superstar-elect Anthony Martial, and with Dutchman Louis van Gaal at the helm, Depay looked destined for the top – and even took the famous number 7 shirt!

But a slow start to his Old Trafford knocked his confidence, and he lost his goalscorer's instinct.

After a hopeless return of seven goals in 45 games during his debut season, he was relegated to the subs bench and eventually sold to Lyon.

Depay managed to revive his career in France and sealed a move to Barcelona in the summer, but he still isn't the player everyone hoped he'd be.


Kleberson attracted European attention after starring for Brazil at the 2002 World Cup.

Despite having a team containing the likes of Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Cafu and Roberto Carlos, manager Luiz Felipe Scolari declared that Kleberson was in fact the driving force behind the nation's victory.

United eventually secured his services in 2003, viewing the midfielder as the natural replacement for Juan Sebastian Veron, who had just been sold to Chelsea.

Sadly for United, Kleberson was as much a disappointment as the man he was bought to replace. Injuries hampered his first season in England, but the Brazilian never adapted to the physicality of the Premier League and was sold to Besiktas in 2005 after playing just 30 times for the club.

Source: Read Full Article