Jadon Sancho’s proposed move to Manchester United has edged ever closer with talks believed to be at an ‘advanced stage’ for the Borussia Dortmund winger, the Bundesliga side reportedly prepared to accept a deal in instalments for the in-demand star.
Dortmund are believed to be demanding a British transfer-record fee for the England international with United willing to pay the asking price, the Red Devils no strangers to spending big to attract the game’s finest talents.
Ahead of Sancho’s potential move to Old Trafford, we’ve decided to look back on the ten previous occasions United have sealed a record-breaking transfer, here are our ratings of the 10 players Manchester United broke the British transfer-record for:
Denis Law – £115,000 (1962)
Manchester United broke the British transfer-record for the first time to sign prolific forward Denis Law in the early sixties, bringing the Scotland international back to English football following a single season stint in Italy with Torino.
It proved to be an inspired signing as Law starred for more than a decade for the Red Devils, forming part of the club’s fabled ‘holy trinity’ alongside Bobby Charlton and George Best as United were crowned as champions of Europe for the first time in 1968.
Law was named as winner of the Ballon d’Or in 1964 and scored 237 times in 404 appearances for United, a tally bettered only by the aforementioned Charlton and all-time record goalscorer Wayne Rooney.
Two league titles and an FA Cup were also added to his silverware collection alongside the European Cup, Law’s achievements in United red commemorated with a statue of the Scot outside their Old Trafford home.
Gordon McQueen – £495,000 (1978)
Another of Scotland’s finest footballers became Britain’s most expensive star when signing for Manchester United in 1978, Gordon McQueen heading to Manchester from fierce rivals Leeds in a £495,000 deal.
The centre-back had enjoyed an impressive six season spell at Elland Road and helped Leeds to the European Cup final in 1975, before crossing the Pennines to join Dave Sexton’s side three years later.
McQueen was a dependable servant during a seven season stint with the Red Devils, helping the side to FA Cup success in 1982 before leaving the club two years later, the defender losing his place in the side amid the emergence of Paul McGrath.
Bryan Robson – £1.5m (1982)
Three years later and United once again smashed the British transfer-record, sealing the signing of midfielder Robson who followed manager Ron Atkinson from West Bromwich Albion for a fee of £1.5m in 1982.
Robson proved to be one of the most influential players of his generation and a key component of the Manchester United midfield, taking on the responsibility of being club captain and inspiring those around him with displays of tenacity and full-blooded commitment.
One of the great occupants of United’s hallowed number seven shirt, Robson earned the moniker of ‘Captain Marvel’ for his Roy of the Rover style in driving the side forwards. He won two league titles, three FA Cups and the European Cup Winners’ Cup during his time at the club, cementing himself as a firm fans’ favourite and as one of the inspirational figureheads in United history.
Roy Keane – £3.75m (1993)
Robson’s injury problems and declining powers saw Sir Alex Ferguson look to Nottingham Forest for his captain’s successor, securing the signing of young Cork-native Roy Keane for a record fee in 1993.
Keane had impressed despite Forest’s relegation under the guidance of Brian Clough and quickly found himself a home at Manchester United, becoming the heartbeat of Ferguson’s greatest sides and establishing himself as one of the best leaders in Premier League history.
Rarely has a player led quite like Keane at his peak, an all-action and inspirational presence who struck fear into opposition and teammates alike. The midfielder became the most successful captain in the club’s history and won seven league titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League amongst his honours, the Irishman the undisputed driving force of the most dominant side of the Premier League era.
Andy Cole – £7m (1995)
Amongst the finest forwards in English football over the first decade of the Premier League, Cole burst onto the scene after firing Newcastle United into the top tier before winning the division’s Golden Boot for the newly-promoted side.
Cole’s goalscoring exploits swiftly attracted the attention of Sir Alex Ferguson, who sealed his signing in a deal worth £7m – a figure involving £6m cash plus the £1m rated Keith Gillespie heading in the opposite direction.
The forward wasted little time in making an impact and 12 goals in just 18 league appearances after arriving from St James’ Park mid-season, before enjoying a prolific and trophy-laden seven season spell at Old Trafford.
Those seven seasons delivered 121 goals, five league titles, two FA Cups and the Champions League, Cole’s telepathic understanding with strike partner Dwight Yorke a central component of the club’s infamous treble-winning season in 1999.
Ruud van Nistelrooy – £19m (2001)
Ruud van Nistelrooy’s career at Manchester United may have delivered just one league title amid competition from Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ and a billionaire-backed Chelsea, but the Netherlands international established himself as one of the finest finishers in the club’s illustrious history.
Sir Alex Ferguson was prepared to wait a year for Van Nistelrooy to recover from a serious knee injury before landing his man from PSV Eindhoven, though his patience was rewarded with a prolific spell that saw the penalty-box poacher score 150 goals in just 219 appearances.
Van Nistelrooy was named as the PFA Player’s Player of the Season during his debut season, before winning the Premier League’s Golden Boot the following campaign in a season that delivered 44 goals in all competitions – the highest tally any player has managed in the Premier League era.
The forward added FA Cup and League Cup success before departing for Real Madrid in 2006, United undoubtedly seeing the peak years of a deadly forward who was amongst Europe’s best at the peak of his powers.
Juan Sebastien Veron – £28.1m (2001)
Van Nistelrooy’s status as Britain’s most expensive player lasted just a few weeks following the arrival of Juan Sebastien Veron into English football, the Lazio midfielder joining the Dutchman at Old Trafford during the summer of 2001.
The Argentina international had starred in Serie A and inspired Lazio to the Scudetto at the turn of the millennium, but struggled to replicate that form during a disappointing spell in the Premier League.
Sir Alex Ferguson was forced into launching a verbal attack on the media following fierce criticism of his record purchase, though despite the Scot’s defiant stance Veron failed to justify his lofty price tag.
After just two seasons he joined Chelsea for a fee of £15m, making just seven league appearances before heading back to Italy with Inter Milan.
Rio Ferdinand – £30m (2002)
Manchester United made Rio Ferdinand the most expensive defender in history for the second time in his career during the summer of 2002, the Red Devils signing the England international in a £30m deal from fierce rivals Leeds.
Ferdinand had starred during his career to date and swiftly became a cornerstone of the United side, spending more than a decade at the club and winning a vast collection of major honours.
The centre-back’s partnership with Nemenja Vidic is widely credited as the best in Premier League history, Ferdinand’s class and composure perfectly complimenting the steely strength of the towering Serbian.
Ferdinand finished his career having won six league titles and the Champions League during a career at Old Trafford that delivered 455 appearances in all competitions.
Angel Di Maria – £59.7m (2014)
The arrival of Angel Di Maria generated much excitement around the red half of Manchester following his British transfer-record move from Real Madrid, the Argentina international having been a key figure in the Spanish giants capture of a fabled tenth Champions League title just weeks earlier.
Di Maria was the marquee name to inspire United back to the heights of the Sir Alex Ferguson era under the guidance of Louis van Gaal, the club’s succession plan in appointing David Moyes having ended disastrously.
The winger initially started brightly on the pitch but struggled to settle in England, his form deteriorating quickly as he began to clamour for a move away. After just one disappointing season in the Premier League, he was shipped out to Paris Saint-Germain and has done little to improve his popularity with United fans – aiming several digs in the club’s direction – since moving to France.
Paul Pogba – £89m (2016)
Manchester United decided to break the world transfer-record to re-sign Paul Pogba four years ago, the club having acknowledged their mistake in allowing the midfielder to depart on a free transfer in 2012.
Pogba decided to leave the club after finding first-team opportunities limited and subsequently flourished in the colours of Juventus, winning four consecutive Serie A titles and establishing himself amongst the best young players in the world before returning to Manchester in a record-breaking deal.
His debut season saw him help the Red Devils to League Cup and Europa League success, though those remain his only major honours since his return to English football.
Pogba has shown flashes of the brilliance he is capable of producing but has largely failed to deliver on a consistent basis in a transitional period for the club. His future has often provided a distraction with his controversial agent, Mino Raiola, rarely far from the headlines, but he now seems arguably more settled and could prove a key figure in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s rebuild.