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Manucho, And 7 Other Really Odd Fergie Signings - Where Are They Now?

Mikey Traynor
By Mikey Traynor
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Alex Ferguson was unquestionably one of the greatest managers of all time, and a number of his signings are fondly remembered as some of the best transfers made in the Premier League era.

The likes of Denis Irwin, Eric Cantona, Nemanja Vidic, Javier Hernandez, and of course Crisitano Ronaldo are all considered master-strokes, but Fergie saw over 100 players sign with the club during his tenure, and they certainly weren't all hits.

The misses, and there were many misses, are also often remembered fondly, but for different reasons. They are the type of memories that spark a discussion about how shite they were and how on Earth they managed to play for Man Utd, a conversation that many a fan has enjoyed down the years.

So we thought it would be fun to track where these guys who once showed enough promise for Fergie to 'OK' their arrival at one of the biggest teams on the planet.

Alex Buttner

Fee: Undisc.
Apps: 13
Current Team: Dynamo Moscow

He was far from the worst defender to play for Manchester United, but the signing of Alex Buttner was an extremely strange one.

While he was playing for Vitesse in Holland, he looked all set to sign for Southampton upon their return to the top flight, but at the last minute the deal broke down. Then, late in the transfer window, Ferguson realised that he was short on cover for a left-back, and wanted to sign someone who knew full well that they would be a squad player.


Buttner arrived, and it was very clear as soon as United fans got a look at him that he was a little bit mental. All they knew from his time in Holland was that he had a hammer of a left foot, but he was thrown in, and he only went and grabbed and assist and a goal on his league against Wigan.

That was the highlight, as the rest of Buttner's spell at Old Trafford was spent on the bench before he left for Dynamo Moscow, as United even made a small profit on him.

Since heading for Russia he hasn't enjoyed a long run of football amassing just 24 appearances since 2014, although he did feature heavily for Anderlecht during a loan spell for the last half of last season.



Fee: Undisc.
Apps: 1
Current Team: Cruz Azul

Plucked straight from Angola, the signing of Manucho, announced before the 2008 African Cup of Nations and after a three-week trial with the club, was met with bemusement by the fans.

They will have watched that tournament hoping to see what inspired the decision, and soon they were getting very excited after the Angolan striker scored an absolute screamer in group stage play.


However upon arriving at Old Trafford it became clear that he wasn't going to cut it, and after just one appearance he was off to Valladolid in Spain. Two loans to Turkey followed, before Rayo Vallecano decided to offer him another chance in Spain. A return of 10 goals in roughly 80 games saw him allowed to leave the club last summer, and he signed for Cruz Azul in Mexico where he remains today.

Eric Djemba-Djemba

Fee: £3.5m
Apps: 20
Current Team: FC Vallorbe-Ballaigues

Easily one of the most high-profile United flops, Djemba-Djemba was billed as the "next Eric Cantona" by some sections of the media as he made the move over Nantes. Really, he was.


Sadly, after his arrival it soon became clear that he wasn't very good at all. The type of player that Roy Keane couldn't accept on the training ground, the only impact he ever made was in a cup tie against Leeds, which went some way to ensuring he was remembered fondly, and not as simply a terrible player.

20 appearances and two years after arriving, he was on the move. Aston Villa thought he might be worth a punt, but they were wrong. Over the next decade Djemba-Djemba played for Qatar SC, OB, Hapoel Tel Aviv, Partizan, St. Mirren, and a few teams in India.

He now plays for Vallorbe-Ballaigues in the Swiss fifth division.


Zoran Tosic

Fee: Undisc.
Apps: 2
Current Team: CSKA Moscow


It is believed that Zoran Tosic only arrived at Man Utd in a deal that was supposed to be a double swoop including the talent they really wanted, Adem Ljajic, from Partizan, but that move fell through and the young Serbian came to Manchester on his own.

And he struggled. Such a physically slight player was always going to find it tough in England played, and sure enough he only played twice in two years before being moved on.


He landed in Russia, and has formed a solid career for himself as one of CSKA's key players over the past six years, as well as featuring over 75 times for his country. Not many on this list managed to salvage a career after Man Utd, but he did.

Gabriel Obertan

Fee: £3m
Apps: 14
Current Team: Anzhi Makhachkala

"Who?" was the reaction, as Gabby Obertan and his massive, massive head posed for photos alongside Michael Owen and Antonio Valencia, and United fans fumed upon learning that he wasn't a much, much needed central midfielder.

Instead, Obertan was a lightning quick winger with no footballing brain. Anyone who has seen the film 'The Mighty Ducks' may remember Luis Mendoza as the boy who could skate at top speed but couldn't stop... That was pretty much what Obertan offered.

He did actually produce one moment of pure brilliance, a sublime skill to set Owen up for a hat-trick away to Wolfsburg in the Champions League, but there was no way he was ever going to be a regular player.

Newcastle gave him his next chance, and were made to regret it, as he managed just two goals in 50+ appearances before he was eventually brought to Russia by Anzhi.

William Prunier

Fee: Loan.
Apps: 2
Current Team: US Colomiers (manager)

Listed as a loan signing, United actually bought out Prunier's contract with Bordeaux and took him on trial, and he was only supposed to feature in reserve matches initially.

Sadly for William, he was needed to play for the first team due to injury sooner than he would have wanted, and although his debut against QPR went fine, he was pretty much blamed for a 4-1 loss to Tottenham just a few days later.

And we never heard from him again. Despite signing for Napoli and Hearts, he had one season in his career with over 20 appearances, for Montpellier in 96/97, and he now manages in the French non-league system.

Lee Martin

Fee: £200k
Apps: 1
Current Team: Gillingham

Brought in as a hot young talent from Wimbledon, Martin was always a player who was far too good for the reserve team, but nowhere near good enough for first-team Premier League football.

His fondness for skills drew unfortunate comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo, as Lee Martin was sometimes known as the "pound-shop Ronaldo", but following a staggering six loan moves in two years, it was clear that he would never make it in the first team.

He did manage to carve out a nice career for himself with Ipswich and Millwall in The Championship, and is still going for Gillingham in League One. He's only 29 after all.


Fee: £7.4m
Apps: 7
Current Team: Eibar

Ah yes, no list like this would be complete without Tiago Manuel Dias Correia, exclusively known as Bebé.

In what was clearly a deal made to line the pockets of Superagent Jorge Mendes, the homeless World Cup rumours flew as United fans scrambled to find any information their club had just paid a not insignificant amount of money for.

He was awful. That game against Wolves in the league cup will be remembered as one of the worst performances by a Man Utd player, and he was out of the club on loan at the next opportunity.

He enjoyed success on his return to Portugal, and is now actually a decent player for Eibar in La Liga, so fair play to Bebé for sticking at it and making a solid career for himself.

SEE ALSO: Six Failed Man United Wonderkids: Where Are They Now?

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