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Throughout the last 19 years, we’ve seen eras, managers and players come and go. Among the players, quite a number of them come in at a small price, adapted quickly to the style of play at Old Trafford, and taken the world at a storm.

Who do you think are the most profitable Manchester United players since the turn of the century?

Here’s what we think.

1. Edwin van der Sar (2005 – 2011)

When the Dutch international came from Fulham for a reported fee of £2 million, only very few Manchester United fans thought he had the right quality to step in between the poles for a club that has enjoyed a history with many legendary goalkeepers. However, it didn’t take long for him to begin to pay off as Van der Sar soon established himself not only as an Old Trafford great but also as one of the greatest goalkeepers to ever grace the Premier League.

Today, the big Dutchman is considered by many analysts to sit inside Schmeichel as one of the great modern-day United goalkeepers.

Although he retired at United and wasn’t sold, he paid back every money spent on him and even more in his performances throughout his stay, also going on to win three consecutive Premier League titles and a Champions League.

Since retirement, Edwin van der Sar has spent most of his time lowkey with his family and close friends. He presently holds a , his boyhood team and is tipped to return to Manchester United pretty soon.

Titles Won:

Premier League – 2006-09, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11

Champions League – 2008

Club World Cup – 2008

League Cup – 2006, 2009

Community Shield – 2007, 2008, 2010

2. Ruud van Nistelrooy (2001-2006)

Although Ruud played in Manchester United at a time when Wenger’s Arsenal dominated English football and Chelsea were beginning to hit the strides, his impact in English football can still not be underemphasized. The dominance of the London clubs at that time meant that Nistelrooy’s United trophy cabinet was relatively bare; however, he did not stop banging in goals throughout his stay, which was the reason he was bought in the first place.

With his goals-per-game ratio hitting almost two in three during his time at United, fans have tagged him as arguably one of the most prolific strikers in the clubs history. When he got a chance, you were almost sure he’d put it away. Yeah, that was how good a £16 million Euros investment could be. It was mostly his contribution in front of goals that brought the Premier League trophy to the Theatre of Dreams in the 2002-03 season. He would later leave to Real Madrid for a price around £16 million, but his contributions to United would forever be remembered by United faithful.

Given that Van Gol as he is popularly known was recovering from a devastating injury that kept him on the sidelines for the better part of a year when he joined United, Alex Ferguson’s decision to splash £16 million on the striker was somewhat of a risk.

Trophies Won

Premier League – 2002-03

League Cup – 2006

FA Cup – 2004

Community Shield – 2003.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo (2003-2009)

Who would have thought that the teenager from Sporting (although promising) would leave as not only the most expensive player of all time but also with a Ballon d’Or in his cabinet? Of course, Cristiano Ronaldo was already a delight to watch from Sporting CP, and that was why United could cough out roughly £17 million to buy the then most expensive teenager in football. From 2003 till his departure to Real Madrid in 2009, CR7 grew from strength to strength, dominating English football with is incredible runs, delightful dribbles, skills, and power shots.

His 42 goals tally in the 2007-08 season saw United lift their second consecutive Premier League title and a Champions League winners trophy to go.

while at United before moving to Real Madrid the next year for a world record of £85 million.

Titles Won

Premier League – 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09

Champions League – 2008

League Cup – 2006, 2009

FA Cup – 2004

Community Shield – 2007

Club World Cup – 2008

4. Wayne Rooney (2004-2017)

Wayne Rooney

There’s probably never going to be a list of Manchester United greats that will not feature Wayne Rooney. Another player that debuted for the team as a teenager and made his impact right off the mark. A lot of United faithful will remember is popular as seemed all that was needed to convince everybody that cared to know that another great had been born in Old Trafford.

The £33 million British investment who joined the club as a teenager in 2003 went on not only to win every honour with United, he also beat the long-standing goalscoring record of Sir Bobby Charlton, finishing with a tally of 253 goals for United.

Off the pitch, Wayne Rooney also has some successful endeavours like boxing, horse racing, and charities. He has also been spotted out at roulette tables although he’s not been able to translate his on-pitch success to this game, but that’s no surprise as are stacked against players.

Titles Won

Premier League – 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2012-13

Champions League – 2008

Europa League – 2016-17

FA Cup: 2015-16

League Cup – 2006, 2010, 2017

Community Shield – 2007, 2010, 2011, 2016

Club World Cup – 2008

5. Nemanja Vidic (2005-2014)

The second half of one of Premier League’s most prolific defensive partnership ever, Vidic can best be described as a, going on to win nearly everything there is to win for a defender in the EPL.

Coming from Sparta Moscow in 2005 for about £9 million, only very few people would imagine that Vidic would increase into one of the most profitable players in United’ history, paying back more than his worth within a short time. Although the defender lived a very quiet private life, he was a beast on the pitch, and many attackers that had come in contact with him could testify to that.

Titles Won

Premier League – 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2012-13

League Cup – 2006, 2009, 2010

Champions League – 2008

Community Shield – 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013

Club World Cup – 2008

There you have it, the most profitable players in Manchester United’s history since the year 2000.

Of course, the club has had a lot of valuable players over time but the list may differ based on which specific criteria you’re looking at; as it’s not easy to estimate how much profit a player brings to a team. Generally, factors like selling price, trophies, and merchandise sales influence how profitable a player becomes, so we focused on who we think were the most valuable to Manchester United in the last two decades.



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