Rating the impact of six players Man United signed over the age of 30

Manchester United’s final day splurge saw the club leave it late to bolster their options, arguably the headline news of a busy deadline day the arrival of former Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani.

Cavani spent seven hugely successful seasons with the Parisian outfit to become their all-time record goalscorer, winning six league titles amongst a wealth of major honours during a prolific spell in the French capital.

The Uruguayan international arrives with pedigree but his free transfer signing has been questioned by many in the football media, Cavani having struggled with injuries of late and into the twilight of his career.

The 33-year-old is not the first experienced star to head to Old Trafford throughout the Premier League era, however, and we’ve decided to look back at some other notable veterans to sign for the Red Devils.

Here are our ratings of the impact of the six players Manchester United have signed over the age of 30:

Teddy Sheringham

Eric Cantona’s shock retirement in the late nineties left Manchester United seeking a replacement for one of the club’s greatest ever players, their search taking Sir Alex Ferguson to Tottenham and the signing of experienced England international Teddy Sheringham.

The forward had enjoyed an excellent Premier League career but silverware had proven elusive during his time with the north London side, Sheringham opting to sign for England’s dominant force in a deal that proved inspired for club and player.

Few were convinced by Ferguson’s decision to sign the 31-year-old, but he played his part in a hugely successful period for the Red Devils, winning three league titles in four seasons and forming part of the club’s historic treble-winning season during the 1998/99 campaign.

Embed from Getty Images

Sheringham scored in the finals of the FA Cup and most notably Champions League with a late equaliser against Bayern Munich, whilst his finest individual season came two years later as he was named as the PFA Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year during yet another title-winning season.

He left and returned to Tottenham following the signing of Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2001, playing for a further five years at the highest level to become the Premier League’s oldest ever outfield player and goalscorer.

Rating: 8/10

Laurent Blanc

Another veteran handed the unenviable task of replacing an outgoing star, Laurent Blanc arrived in the Premier League from Inter Milan as a replacement for Jaap Stam.

Sir Alex Ferguson had long admired a player who had won a wealth of silverware throughout his career, including forming part of the France side which lifted the 1998 World Cup on home soil and the European Championships two years later.

Blanc, however, initially struggled to adapt to the demands of English football with his ageing legs exposed throughout his opening months at Old Trafford, his performances criticised during a debut season in which United finished behind Arsenal in the title race.

Embed from Getty Images

He was, however, handed a one-year extension and won a Premier League title during his second season despite largely playing a bit-part role following the arrival of Rio Ferdinand from Leeds, the Frenchman announcing his retirement at the end of the campaign.

Rating: 4/10

Edwin van der Sar

The post-Peter Schmeichel years were largely spent in a goalkeeping limbo for Manchester United, as Sir Alex Ferguson took six years and a series of sub-par signings before finally acquiring a capable replacement in Edwin van der Sar.

He arrived as a 35-year-old from Fulham and wasted little time in proving the £2m fee a bargain buy, spending six years as the club’s number one and winning a host of honours including four Premier League titles and the Champions League.

That European triumph saw Van der Sar become the player with the longest ever gap between two Champions League victories, his success with United coming 13 years after first lifting the trophy at Ajax during the mid-nineties.

Together with the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic they formed one of the Premier League’s greatest ever backlines, setting a record of 14 consecutive clean sheets during the club’s 2008/09 title-winning campaign.

Rating: 9/10

Henrik Larsson

Henrik Larsson’s spell at Manchester United may have been brief, but he remains fondly remembered by the club’s supporters following his loan spell at the club in 2007.

Larsson had established himself as one of the greatest players in Celtic’s history during a glittering career north of the border, before joining Barcelona and helping the Spanish side to Champions League success.

As the veteran wound down his illustrious career in his native Sweden, however, he received a surprise phone call from Sir Alex Ferguson who persuaded the 35-year-old to move to the Premier League on a temporary basis.

United’s attacking options had been depleted by the sale of Ruud van Nistelrooy and injuries to both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Alan Smith, Larsson a short-term solution to boost the club’s firepower.

Larsson scored on his debut against Aston Villa and netted three goals in 13 appearances, the modest tally failing to tell the full story of a player whose class and experience influenced a youthful dressing room as the club went on to secure a first league title in four years.

Rating: 7/10

Bastian Schweinsteiger

Perhaps a cautionary tale when it comes to signing players in the latter years of their career, Bastian Schweinsteiger looked a shadow of the player who had won virtually every major honour in the game upon arriving at Manchester United.

The midfielder had won eight Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich in addition to lifting the World Cup with Germany, but his short spell in the Premier League proved to be a major disappointment.

Once regarded as one of the most complete midfield talents in world football, Schweinsteiger’s ageing legs struggling in the increased pace of English football and he fell out-of-favour following the arrival of Jose Mourinho as manager.

Embed from Getty Images

The German made just 18 league appearances over two seasons with the Red Devils and scored once, leaving to sign for MLS side Chicago Fire in 2017.

Rating: 3/10

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Edinson Cavani’s switch to Manchester echoes the move made by Zlatan Ibrahimovic four years ago, leaving Paris Saint-Germain after a goal-laden period for a crack at the Premier League.

Ibrahimovic signed on a free transfer from the Parisians and reunited with former boss Jose Mourinho in English football, the duo having formed a strong relationship during their time together at Inter Milan.

It proved an inspired signing as Ibrahimovic proved there was plenty left in the tank for the veteran Swede, scoring 28 goals in all competitions – including match-winning goals in both the Community Shield and League Cup final – before a career-threatening injury curtailed his season.

He received a Europa League winners’ medal as the club lifted the trophy with victory over Ajax, but that serious knee injury effectively ended his time with the club, making just a handful of appearances after his recovery before leaving for LA Galaxy.

Whilst not quite the player he once was in Manchester, he was a more than impressive short-term solution as the club’s spearhead.

Rating: 7/10

Read – Rating every member of Man United’s fabled class of 92

Read Also – Why Solskjaer’s legendary status is becoming a serious problem at Manchester United

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments