Manchester United most expensive player sales - How the Red Devils made £625 million in outgoing transfers

Man Utd's most expensive transfer sales
Manchester United have made some decent sales since the turn of the century, which boosted their coffers significantly

Manchester United are one of the most iconic clubs in the world. Period.

The Red Devils are known for their incredible history, one that was based on developing and promoting young talent in order to lay a firm foundation in England's footballing history.

While United's academy remains one of the best in the world, since the turn of the millennium, they have used their immense global appeal to not only attract but also sell some of the greatest talent in the world.

They have made some astonishing player sales, with some of the biggest names leaving Old Trafford for a mammoth fee.

Who ranks among the top most expensive sales made by the Red Devils?

Let's take a look!

Manchester United biggest transfer sales by season

SeasonBiggest SaleFeeTotal Sales
2022-23Andreas Pereira£10m£16.60m
2021-22Daniel James£25m£25m
2020-21Chris Smalling£18.1m£19.60m
2019-20Romelu Lukaku£70m£74.88m
2018-19Daley Blind£14m£31m
2017-18Henrikh Mkhitaryan£35m£44.70m
2016-17Morgan Schneiderlin£24m£47.05m
2015-16Angel Di Maria£44.3m£70.58m
2014-15Danny Welbeck£16m£37.50m
2012-13Dimitar Berbatov£5m£8m
2011-12John O'Shea£6m£9.30m
2010-11Zoran Tosic£8m£14m
2009-10Cristiano Ronaldo£80m£87.75m
2008-09Gerard Pique£5m£6.75m
2007-08Gabriel Heinze£8m£31.10m
2006-07Ruud van Nistelrooy£10m£12.20m
2005-06Phil Neville£3.5m£5.3m
2004-05Nicky Butt£2.5m£6m
2003-04David Beckham£25m£40m
2002-03Dwight Yorke£2.6m£2.6m
2001-02Jaap Stam£18m£29.75m
2000-01Danny Higginbotham£2m£5.40m

*All figures are taken from Transfermarkt unless stated otherwise

Manchester United top 10 most expensive sales

  1. Juan Sebastian Veron | £15m | Chelsea | 2003
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    Juan Sebastian Veron | £15m | Chelsea | 2003

    Argentina superstar Juan Sebastian Veron was one of the most impressive midfielders in Europe in the late 1990s.

    Sir Alex Ferguson sanctioned his arrival for £28.1 million at United in 2001, making him the most expensive transfer in English football at that time.

    United fans had high hopes for Veron, but he stayed at the club for just two years, scoring seven goals in 51 appearances before joining Chelsea in 2003 for £15m.

    Veron made just 15 appearances for the Blues, spending most of his stint there on loan to Inter and Estudiantes.

  2. Danny Welbeck | £16m | Arsenal | 2014
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    Danny Welbeck | £16m | Arsenal | 2014

    Ferguson handed Danny Welbeck his senior debut in 2008 before he was sent on a couple of loan spells, to Preston North End and Sunderland.

    From the 2011-12 season, Welbeck became a regular at United, scoring 20 goals in 92 games.

    The Manchester-born forward joined Arsenal for a £16 million fee in 2014. He scored 16 goals in 88 games for the Gunners before leaving for Watford in 2019.

    Welbeck joined Brighton in 2020.

  3. Jaap Stam | £18m | Lazio | 2001

    Jaap Stam | £18m | Lazio | 2001

    After an impressive spell with PSV, where he was a key player in their Eredivisie title win in the 1996-97 season, Jaap Stam joined Manchester United for £10 million in 1998.

    At United, he won three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, an Intercontinental Cup and the Champions League.

    Early in the 2001-02 season, Stam was controversially sold to Lazio for £18m after Ferguson was reportedly upset about the allegations that the Dutchman made about Manchester United in his autobiography titled 'Head to Head'.

    United signed Laurent Blanc as his replacement.

  4. Morgan Schneiderlin | £24m | Everton | 2017
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    Morgan Schneiderlin | £24m | Everton | 2017

    Part of the Southampton team that was ripped apart in terms of transfers, Morgan Schneiderlin arrived at Old Trafford in 2015.

    The Red Devils paid £25 million for his signature, but his time at United was unfortunate as he couldn't survive immense competition in their midfield, making just 32 appearances in two years at the club.

    After failing to gain enough opportunities to prove himself at United, Schneiderlin was sold to Everton in January 2017 for the same price that United bought him at £24m. He joined Nice in 2020.

  5. David Beckham | £25m | Real Madrid | 2003
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    David Beckham | £25m | Real Madrid | 2003

    One of Manchester United's greatest players, David Beckham was a huge fan favourite during his time at the club.

    Part of the famous 'Class of 92', Beckham became an instant hit at United. He made 265 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring some famous goals.

    He won six Premier League titles, two FA Cups, a Champions League and an Intercontinental Cup at United. Beckham was a key part of United's treble-winning team of 1999.

    In 2003, after a breakdown in his relationship with Ferguson, Beckham joined Real Madrid for £25 million and formed a part of their Galactico era.

  6. Daniel James | £25m | Leeds | 2021

    Daniel James | £25m | Leeds | 2021

    Manchester United signed young winger Daniel James from Leeds United for £15.67 million in the summer of 2019.

    The Welshman stayed at United for two years, making 50 appearances before being deemed surplus to requirements.

    Leeds paid the Red Devils £25m in August 2021 for his signature.

  7. Henrikh Mkhitaryan | £35m | Arsenal | 2017
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    Henrikh Mkhitaryan | £35m | Arsenal | 2017

    Henrikh Mkhitaryan was a revelation at Borussia Dortmund when Manchester United beat tough competition from some top clubs to land him at Old Trafford in 2016.

    The Red Devils paid £26.30 million for the Armenian.

    He made a great start to life at Old Trafford before a change in management saw him being limited to the bench.

    In his two seasons at United, Mkhitaryan played just 39 games before Arsenal signed him for £35m in 2018 as part of an exchange deal for the same fee as Alexis Sanchez, who moved to Old Trafford. However, the attacking midfielder only played for one season with the Gunners before being loaned, and later sold to Roma in 2020.

    He joined Inter in 2022.

  8. Angel Di Maria | £44.30m | PSG | 2015
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    Angel Di Maria | £44.30m | PSG | 2015

    Part of Real Madrid's famous team that achieved 'La Decima', Angel Di Maria joined Manchester United with high hopes in August 2014.

    The Red Devils parted ways with a British transfer record fee of £59.7 million to bring him to Old Trafford.

    However, he left United after just one season in which he failed to adjust at the club and life in England.

    The Red Devils sold him to PSG in 2015 for £44.3m, way less than what they signed him for a year earlier.

  9. Romelu Lukaku | £70m | Inter | 2019

    Romelu Lukaku | £70m | Inter | 2019

    Romelu Lukaku established himself as one of the best strikers in the Premier League with Everton in his time there between 2013 to 2017.

    Manchester United were in need of a striker in 2017 and spent a humongous £75 million for his signature.

    The Belgian striker stayed at Old Trafford for two seasons, scoring 28 goals in 66 games before joining Inter for £70m, making him one of the most expensive sales in the club's history.

    Lukaku joined Chelsea for another club record-breaking fee in 2021 before returning back to Inter on loan in 2022.

  10. Cristiano Ronaldo | £80m | Real Madrid | 2009

    Cristiano Ronaldo | £80m | Real Madrid | 2009

    Ferguson made his most successful signing at Manchester United when he brought Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting Lisbon in 2003 for £12.24 million.

    In his first stint at United, Ronaldo became the best player in the world as he played a major role in helping his club win three Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups, a Champions League and a Club World Cup.

    Ronaldo also won the first of his five Ballon d'Or gongs at United.

    Ahead of the 2009-10 season, Real Madrid broke the transfer record to sign Ronaldo for £80m.