Ranking Manchester United’s six summer signings by how they’ve fared so far this season: Martinez, Casemiro…

Lisandro Martinez Man Utd September 2022 Credit: Alamy
Lisandro Martinez Man Utd September 2022 Credit: Alamy

Erik ten Hag made six first-team signings during his first summer at Manchester United – but how have they fared so far?

United, who finished sixth in the Premier League in 2021/22, backed Ten Hag and spent over £200m, the most the club have ever spent on signings in a single window. 

The Red Devils had a difficult start to the current campaign but have since beaten Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham and now appear to be heading in the right direction.

We’ve ranked the six new signings by their performances so far this season.

6. Martin Dubravka

United’s last signing of the summer transfer window, Dubravka left Newcastle and joined the Red Devils on a season-long loan deal.

The goalkeeper was signed to provide competition for David De Gea, who was criticised for his performances at the start of the season.

But De Gea has been an ever-present in both the Premier League and the Europa League in 2022/23 and Dubravka is yet to make a competitive debut for United.

Erik ten Hag’s side have an obligation to buy the Slovakia international if he makes a certain number of Premier League appearances, but that now looks unlikely.

5. Tyrell Malacia

Having impressed at Feyenoord, Malacia joined United in a £13m deal and became the first signing of the Ten Hag era. 

The left-back made substitute appearances in the first two games of the season before usurping Luke Shaw and making his full debut against Liverpool. 

He produced a brilliant performance as United won 2-1 and earned plenty of plaudits after keeping Mohamed Salah quiet for much of the game.

“Malacia was tremendous, outstanding. He reminds me of Patrice Evra in many ways,” Rio Ferdinand said on his YouTube channel. “He’s athletic, he looks like a pound-for-pound strong kid.

“There aren’t many left-backs in European or world football in the last four or five years who have gone out of a game and kept Mohamed Salah quiet. Yes, he scored a little goal but in the main of the game he kept him quiet. Salah would’ve come off that pitch thinking that was a tough competitor.”

The Netherlands international helped shore up the defence and kept his place in the starting XI throughout September, but he struggled against Manchester City and Omonia Nikosia and was substituted at half-time in both games.

Shaw has since rediscovered his best form and regained his place in the team, leaving Malacia on the bench in United’s recent Premier League games.

4. Antony

After working with Antony at Ajax, Ten Hag wanted a reunion and brought him to Old Trafford in a deal worth an initial £80.75m.

The winger hit the ground running and enjoyed a dream debut, scoring in a 3-1 win over Arsenal at Old Trafford. He then scored against Manchester City and Everton, becoming the first United player to score in their opening three Premier League games.

Despite provoking the ire of Paul Scholes and Owen Hargreaves, the Brazil international has also become a fan favourite at Old Trafford due to his vast array of tricks and flicks.

But he’s far from the finished article and some critics have suggested that the 22-year-old is too predictable due to his over-reliance on his left foot.

“He can go both ways with both feet,” Ten Hag said. “He has to work on that point. We already did that in Amsterdam with him, working on that. He can cross with his right foot too but he’s a young player who we have to develop and he has to develop himself too.

“We have to expect more from him. He needs challenges, that’s why he came to the Premier League and he gets that here. He wants to play with the best players and the highest stress factors and against the best players.

“From there on he will step up and that’s what you see. [In the] first week he was scoring goals and he has done good stuff but I also see a lot of room for improvement in his game.”

3. Casemiro

Having won five Champions Leagues and three La Liga titles at Real Madrid, expectations were high when Casemiro completed a £70m move to United in the summer.

The Brazil international took some time to adapt to his new surroundings and initially found himself on the substitute’s bench.

He was brought into the starting XI following United’s 6-3 defeat to Manchester City at the start of October and has since been one of their standout performers.

The 30-year-old’s ability to shield the back four has given the attacking players more freedom, and he has provided a Roy Keane-esque presence in the middle of the park.

Absolute class,” Martin Keown said on Match of the Day when asked about Casemiro. “I think he’s a player they’ve been missing for years. Conducts everything in that midfield. The real defensive brain of the team, and he can pass as well.

“He’s never ruffled. He sniffs out danger. He senses things really well, he anticipates. If you give it to him in a tricky situation he can find a pass. You see people doing that in front of you, it’s brilliant. His positioning is first class.”

Alongside his defensive work, he also set up Cristiano Ronaldo’s winner against Everton and scored an injury-time equaliser against Chelsea.

2. Christian Eriksen

United needed midfield reinforcements in the summer and Ten Hag immediately identified Eriksen, who was available on a free transfer following the expiry of his short-term contract at Brentford.

While some fans assumed that he would be the backup option to Bruno Fernandes, the 30-year-old has become one of the first names on the team sheet.

He has helped United fans forget all about Paul Pogba and won their Player of the Month award for September.

His ability to pick a pass from deep and keep possession in the midfield has helped United dictate games, and he has been compared with club legends Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick.

The Denmark international is yet to score his first goal for the Red Devils but has showcased his creativity and is United’s outright assist leader for the season with four.

Man Utd midfielder Christian Eriksen Credit: Alamy
Man Utd midfielder Christian Eriksen Credit: Alamy

1. Lisandro Martinez

Alongside Antony, Martinez also reunited with Ten Hag in the summer after leaving Ajax and joining United in a £57m deal.

Pundits were quick to point out the centre-back’s 5’9 height as United endured a poor start to the season, losing 2-1 against Brighton and 4-0 against Brentford in their first two games.

But he silenced his critics by winning back-to-back Man-of-the-Match awards in wins over Liverpool and Southampton and also received United’s Player of the Month award for August.

The Argentina international has formed a brilliant centre-back partnership with Raphael Varane and the duo have six wins and five clean sheets in the nine games they’ve started together.

While he could do nothing to stop Manchester City’s Erling Haaland, Martinez has helped shackle the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Harry Kane, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Jamie Vardy this season.

His aggressive and full-throttle approach has made him a fan favourite, but he’s also showcased his impressive ability on the ball by making line-breaking passes and helping United start attacks. 

READ MORE: Five players Manchester United can sign to replace Cristiano Ronaldo in the January transfer window

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