Manchester United‘s transfer policy has been a bit of a mixed bag over the years.
There have been utterly exceptional signings, like when Eric Cantona joined from Leeds for just £1million, or when a fresh-faced Cristiano Ronaldo turned up from Sporting Lisbon for £13m.
But there have also been some rotten signings, and there’s one player who joined United in January 2003 who should make any club think twice before hastily reinforcing their squad mid-season.
“In the last few months he has shown his development playing in a very good Cameroon team, and he looks like a Manchester United player in every sense,” Sir Alex Ferguson said after the signing of midfielder Eric Djemba-Djemba from Nantes in the middle of the 2002-03 season.
But the crippling reality was that Djemba-Djemba didn’t look anything like a Manchester United player. He didn’t even look like a David Moyes-era United player, let alone being good enough to play alongside Paul Scholes in the centre of the park.
Djemba-Djemba was bought for a modest £3.5million, but didn’t even look worth that sort of money. The Cameroonian was so bad when he got on the pitch for United that he makes Marouane Fellaini look like a bargain.
He was supposed to be the heir apparent of Roy Keane. Instead, after 13 Premier League games, he was sold to Aston Villa for £1.5m.
Where is he now? I hear United fans asking. At 35, Djemba-Djemba is playing in Switzerland’s fifth tier with FC Vallorbe-Ballaigues. Not Ferguson’s finest hour in the transfer market.