The Ones Who Got Away – Players Who Should Have Never Left United


Daley Blind
Current Club: Ajax

A tidy, versatile player during his time at Old Trafford, it’s hard to ever think of a time where Daley Blind ever played poorly for Manchester United. Signed by Louis Van Gaal in 2014 fresh on the back of a stint in the Netherlands national team together, Blind embodied everything about LVG’s philosophy. Great on the ball, capable of playing in a plethora of positions, technically sound and buying into the possession-first way of playing, the Dutchman was an absolute ever-present cog in his first two campaigns in Manchester. 

However, the arrival of Jose Mourinho coincided with Daley Blind falling further and further down the pecking order. He made just 23 and 7 appearances in the 16/17 and 17/18 Premier League campaigns, being mainly restricted to forays in the European competitions before moving on to pastures new with Ajax in 2018. 

Playing a crucial role as Ajax defied the football betting odds supplied by Esports betting bookmakers Unikrn and raced all the way to a memorable Champions League semi final finish, Blind feels very much like a player that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is now left looking at longingly, fitting into same sorts of moulds he likes his players to have. 

Memphis Depay
Current Club: Lyon

Memphis Depay arrived at Manchester United ahead of the 2015/16 season after seeing off competition from the likes of Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain. One of the most talismanic and exciting players of his generation, it looked like everything had aligned perfectly for United and Memphis: his relationship with Louis Van Gaal was supposedly very good and his love of the club is note-worthy even to this day. 

However his time in Manchester is still one of the most unfortunate and confusing stints to try and unwrap in the post-SAF era. A tale of wasted talent and mismanagement from both individuals to take the reigns at United during his time in England, Memphis was clearly a player who benefited more from a shoulder round the arm than he did a public humiliation, the latter of which were sadly both Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho’s preferred ways of dealing with players who didn’t fit into their philosophies. 

The amount of genuinely good games Memphis strung together during his time in Manchester can probably be counted on one hand but, following on from his departure in 2017 he’s shown that he is a player reformed. The 26 year old Dutchman has become one of the most acclaimed superstars outside of Europe’s top sides, netting 59 goals in just 149 appearances for Lyon at the time of writing in all competitions, and showcasing pretty much all of the qualities Reds fans were hoping to see when he was wearing the famous no. 7 shirt. 

Adnan Januzaj
Current Club: Real Sociedad

The only memorable part of the torrid David Moyes era of 2013/14, Adnan Januzaj broke into the Manchester United team on the back of a two goal brace to steal all three points off Sunderland back in October 2013. He would continue to be one of United’s only good players that season, but would never really threaten to become a first team regular following the arrivals of Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho. He had two failed loan moves to Borussia Dortmund and Sunderland, but somehow managed to remain a United fringe player right up until his move to Sociedad in 2017.

Since then, he has established himself as an important player in one of Spain’s most exciting sides. Deployed on the flanks as well as through the middle, he’s been given the backing, the confidence and the freedom to really flex himself as a genuinely creative force in European football.

At the time of writing, the Belgian has redeemed his international career with Roberto Martinez and made ninety appearances for Sociedad across three seasons, scoring sixteen times.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.