Manchester United have missed out on several high-profile players in recent years and that looks set to continue this summer.

The Red Devils fierce rivals Manchester City have won the race to sign Norwegian superstar Erling Haaland for a bargain £51m.

While Champions League finalists and La Liga champions Real Madrid will sign Antonio Rudiger, one of the best centre-backs in Europe, as a free agent when his contract at Chelsea expires at the end of June, according to Fabrizio Romano.

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Due to Manchester United’s ever-growing plight and malaise, word-class players in the ilk of Haaland and Rudiger don’t see Old Trafford as an attractive option to play their football right now.

Erik ten Hag will be the latest manager to try and get the Reds challenging for major trophies once again.

But with Europe’s top clubs already getting to work on their summer business, United in Focus has put together a Manchester United XI of players the club missed out on signing…

Players Manchester United missed out on signing

Manuel Neuer

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David de Gea has been an incredible servant for Manchester United and his shot-stopping prowess is up there with the very best, but Neuer is completely different to the Spaniard.

The imposing German is comfortable with the ball at his feet and takes great pleasure in playing the role of sweeper keeper, unlike De Gea.

In Sir Alex Ferguson’s My Autobiography, the legendary Scot explained that Neuer was on United’s radar to replace Edwin van der Sar in the summer of 2011.

But United’s goalkeeper coach Eric Steele convinced Sir Alex that De Gea was the better prospect and as the Spain international arrived from Atletico Madrid, Neuer, meanwhile, signed for Bayern Munich in the same summer.

Kieran Trippier

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Manchester United baulked at Atletico Madrid’s £30m asking price in the summer following the arrivals of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Our right-back options this season have been Diogo Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, neither of which have produced consistently good performances which justifies them being the first-choice option.

Newcastle United signed the La Liga winner for £12m in January, but with Ralf Rangnick in interim charge, United didn’t go back in for the England international.

Trippier would definitely have been an upgrade on Dalot and Wan-Bissaka and Ten Hag may sign a new right-back this summer.

Antonio Rudiger

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The Mirror had reported United were keen on the Champions League winning German international, who was this season tracked as the Premier League’s fastest player.

But with Rudiger at the peak of his powers, the former Roma man would have unlikely chosen an Old Trafford rebuild ahead of challenging for big trophies with Real Madrid.

Virgil van Dijk

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When Jose Mourinho was at the helm, the Portuguese wanted to sign a centre-back in the summer of 2017.

The current Roma manager drew up a shortlist of three targets containing Michael Keane, Victor Lindelof and Van Dijk, according to Sky Sports.

United wanted one of the cheaper options. The club signed Lindelof from Benfica for £31m and six months later Liverpool paid Southampton £75m for Van Dijk.

Alphonso Davies

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The Canadian superstar had been monitored closely by United and the left-back was invited to Carrington for a three-week trial back in January 2018, according to Sky Sports.

But the Vancouver Whitecaps refused to release their young star and six months later Bayern Munich snapped Davies up for £14m.

Moises Caicedo

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The 20-year-old Ecuadorian has only started six Premier League games but he dominated a lacklustre Manchester United midfield, in Brighton’s 4-0 win against Rangnick’s Reds, which was one of United’s worst defeats since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

Caicedo scored his first goal in English football for the Seagulls against the beleaguered Reds and it looks like Graham Potter’s side have got themselves a bargain.

Manchester United passed on him, but Potter’s men managed to get Caicedo signed for just £4.5 million.


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Prior to reuniting with Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich in July 2013, De Gea tried to convince his compatriot to come to the Theatre of Dreams under David Moyes.

The Spaniard, who dictates the tempo of games with his passing range and confidence in possession, was not suited to United’s style, David Moyes feared. This was an awful mistake.

The Barcelona Academy graduate joined Bayern, and then went onto sign for United’s fierce rivals Liverpool in the summer of 2020.

Jude Bellingham

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Manchester United tried to use the charm of Sir Alex to convince the former Birmingham prodigy that United was the best move for him.

But Bellingham instead opted to follow in Jadon Sancho’s footsteps and move to Bundesliga giants Dortmund over United.

With Sancho and Haaland moving on, Bellingham is likely to be the next Dortmund star to be courted and he’ll likely pursue a move next summer.

Luis Diaz

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The Colombian international, who has been a revelation since arriving at Anfield from Porto, was one of three forwards Rangnick asked Manchester United to sign in January.

The German’s wish wasn’t granted and Diaz has more than hit the ground running since joining Jurgen Klopp’s side in the January transfer window, including scoring once and providing an assist in a 4-0 win over United.

Sadio Mane

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Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal told Four Four Two that he wanted to sign Mane from Southampton before Liverpool swooped in.

The African Cup of Nations winner has consistently produced the goods for Klopp’s side, year in, year out.

His tireless pressing from the front and goalscoring prowess would have been a huge asset to Manchester United.

Erling Haaland

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Manchester United blew the opportunity to sign the Norwegian when he was at Molde and then RB Salzburg.

The Reds failed to capitalise on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s relationship with the world-class forward and couldn’t get a deal over the line.

While Haaland’s arrival at Manchester City poses huge problems, it could potentially result in Manchester United ramping up their interest in Darwin Nunez.

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Passionate Football fan that completed a NCTJ-accredited Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism in 2016.