Why Man Utd missed out on stars worth £263m – including Chelsea and Liverpool players

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Why Man Utd missed out on stars worth £263m – including Chelsea and Liverpool players

Manchester United have a long history of transfer blunders, and the Red Devils have missed out on some top players who have gone on to star in the Premier League at rival clubs

Manchester United “squandered” the chance to snap up a whopping £263m worth of top talent – including hotshots like Jamal Musiala and Moises Caicedo.

Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, the Red Devils have been pretty hit-and-miss in the transfer market, with Bruno Fernandes being perhaps the only major big-money signing that’s truly paid off at Old Trafford in the last 10 years. Whether they’re hunting for a steal or splashing the cash, United’s transfer game has been less than stellar.

Now, with Sir Jim Ratcliffe heading up football operations, fans are hoping for a flawless transfer window. In recent years, though, United have let some of Europe’s most dazzling prospects slip through their fingers, with several now giving them a run for their money right in the Premier League. Daily Star Sport has checked out the latest crop’s current transfer values (via Transfermarkt) to determine just how big an asset they could each be right now at Old Trafford had they joined.

Moises Caicedo – £63.5m
Back in the early days of January 2021, Chelsea’s Moises Caicedo was on United’s radar, as reported by The Athletic. With a bargain £1.5million release clause at his home club Independiente del Valle, the fee seemed like no obstacle for a potential deal.

But, as fate would have it, the move fell apart. A tangled web of agents threw a spanner in the works, muddying the waters so much that at one point, United were handed a version of the Ecuadorian’s contract where the original release clause had mysteriously doubled to £3.1million. The club ultimately abandoned the deal, leaving Brighton to snap up the midfielder and later make a profit of over £100m after selling him to the Blues last year.

Pedro Neto – £46.5m
The dynamic Portuguese winger seemed set to follow in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani by moving to United when the then-Braga academy starlet, 17, was invited to Carrington in 2017 and participated in an academy match.

A training compensation fee was the only obstacle to United signing Neto, with recruitment staff advocating for the transfer. However, after waiting several weeks to make an offer, Neto had already signed a new deal with Braga before joining Serie A side Lazio on a two-year loan with an obligation to buy, alongside Bruno Jordao.

Jamal Musiala – £101.5m
Perhaps the most regretted missed move in recent years, the club were offered the chance to trial the German superstar in March 2018 when he was 15. The then-Chelsea academy star was on the brink of leaving the Blues and was considered the best player at a Germany training camp by United youth scout Andreas Herrmann.

He also impressed during his time representing England Under-16s alongside Jude Bellingham in a game against Croatia but complications with the deal put United out of the race as they decided attempting to sign Musiala would be too risky.


Benjamin Sesko – £42.5m
The Slovenian football sensation, who has been linked with a move to Arsenal, could have already been playing for United. The Red Devils had made an initial bid of £850,000, despite Red Bull Salzburg offering £1.6million. However, Domzale, his boyhood club, rejected United’s revised offer of just over £1million.

Stefan Bajcetic – £9m
Liverpool’s Stefan Bajcetic was on the brink of joining arch-rivals Man United in 2020. A deal worth £210,000 had been agreed with Celta Vigo. However, The Athletic have reported how the tables turned when Sam Barnett, United’s football negotiations manager, approached Bajcetic’s father Srdjan, asking if they could extract Bajcetic from the La Liga team.

This move would have saved United money, as they’d only have to pay £85,000 in training compensation. But Bajcetic’s father, who not only played for the club but was also an employee, declined the request. Liverpool secured a deal in December that year and Bajcetic is expected to return to the first team next season after battling injuries.