PLAYING for Manchester United can be a heavy burden for some players, even the very best.
And many find their way again after moving away from Old Trafford to the frustration of supporters.
Anthony Martial, a £56million signing from Monaco, failed to hit the heights expected of him and will be hoping a move to Sevilla reignites his career.
He will be be buoyed by these seven who did especially well after leaving the Premier League giants behind.
From a Uruguayan legend to a Dutch star who later earned a transfer to Barcelona, here are the flops for whom life got much better after leaving Old Trafford.
The Belgium centre forward is definitely the one that got away.
Often, Lukaku was deemed not good enough by supporters who felt he was overweight and cumbersome.
After cutting a more shredded figure at Inter Milan, where a new diet and fitness regime saw the striker lose 16lbs and get into the best shape of his career, he helped the Serie A club land the title.
That prompted Chelsea to splash £97.5m on Lukaku, although he’s yet to live up to that price tag at the Bridge.
In 2015, United shelled out £25m on the Dutch star on the insistence of Louis van Gaal.
But Depay looked lost at sea on our shores, playing 53 times and managing just seven goals.
Two seasons later he was sold to Lyon for £20m, where he rediscovered his form.
In 2021, after scoring 76 goals in 178 games, he joined Barcelona on a free transfer.
ANGEL DI MARIA
It’s not uncommon for Argentinian stars to lose their way at Old Trafford – with Juan Sebastian Veron also struggling in Manchester.
Di Maria was a marquee signing in 2014 for a then-British transfer record fee of £59.7m.
In his only season, he managed just four goals in 32 games and soon fell out of favour with boss van Gaal.
A year later he was sold to PSG for £40m, where he has scored double figures in goals in five of his six seasons, as well as been integral in four Ligue 1-winning campaigns.
In 2013, United moved to sign Zaha from Crystal Palace for £15m – Sir Alex Ferguson’s final acquisition for the club.
A year later he found himself out of favour under new boss David Moyes and was loaned out to Cardiff City.
Zaha would later say he never felt he was given a fair chance at Old Trafford.
He was loaned to the Eagles, who eventually bought him back for £10m – and he’s gone on to become one of the Premier League’s biggest danger men.
A lot of Blind’s problems at Old Trafford stemmed from where managers thought he should play.
Was he a left-back? Should he play in a midfield holding role? Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho just couldn’t work him out.
In 2018, the Dutch international returned to Ajax, where he has won two league titles and contributed to the club’s brilliant Champions League run in 2019… playing at centre-back.
And at the Euros he starred for Holland.
Forlan was a costly (at the time) £7m buy for United in 2002.
However, in his first 13 Premier League games and five Champions League matches he was ridiculed for failing to hit the back of the net.
United sold him to LaLiga’s Villarreal, where he was an instant hit scoring 25 league goals and winning the Spanish Golden Boot and the European Golden Shoe in his first season.
He repeated that trick in 2009 at Atletico Madrid – scoring a sensational 32 goals in 33 games.
The Colombian striker, now 35, is plying his trade at Rayo Vallecano where he has five goals in 13 games.
Before that, he was scoring goals at Galatasaray – 20 in 43 games.
But at Old Trafford, on loan from Monaco, he really struggled with just four goals in 29 games, although a serious knee injury and a struggle to initially return to fitness hindered him.
After his Manchester United nightmare, a poor spell at Chelsea followed.
But a return to Monaco helped Falcao find his Midas touch again. He scored 70 goals in his last three seasons with the French giants before continuing his rejuvenation in his twilight years in Turkey.