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5 players Manchester United sold for profit

Manchester United fans often rue that their club is one of the worst when it comes to securing good resale value for their players.

Their frustration is not unfounded as United have made a profit on just five players in the last ten years.

By contrast, Chelsea appear to have mastered the art of securing huge sums for their players.

The most recent was Kurt Zouma, who joined West Ham United for nearly £30 million, years after the Blues signed him for £12m from Saint-Etienne.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the five players United have sold for profit in the last decade.

(Note: The list excludes academy products like Danny Welbeck and Adnan Januzaj)

5. Javier Hernandez (Profit: £800,000)

United had been keeping tabs on Javier Hernandez since 2009.

His rapid rise in Mexican football followed by a call-up to the Mexican national side forced the club to secure his signature before the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The Red Devils paid a fee of £6.5m for the striker in one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s shrewdest signings.

Hernandez hit the ground running, scoring on his competitive debut in the 2010/11 Community Shield win against Chelsea.

Hernandez went on to win two league titles with United, scoring an impressive 59 goals and providing 20 assists in 157 appearances for the club.

The Mexican international’s career derailed after Ferguson retired at the end of the 2012-13 season.

Two seasons later, United sold him to German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen for £7.3m.

4. Alexander Buttner (Profit: £1.8m)

Alexander Buttner was a surprise signing by Ferguson at the beginning of the 2012-13 season.

Many thought that this was another one of Ferguson’s transfer masterstrokes, but the Dutchman failed to oust club legend Patrice Evra from the left-back position.

He made just 28 appearances in all competitions between 2012 and 2014.

Signed from Vitesse Arnhem, Buttner’s start to life at United kicked off spectacularly as he set up the second and scored the third goal in United’s 4-0 home win over Wigan Athletic.  

United recorded a £1.8m profit on him when he was sold to Dinamo Moscow in 2014.

3. Daley Blind (Profit: £2m)

Versatile Dutch defender-midfielder Daley Blind was a fan favourite at Old Trafford.

The former Ajax man was one of former manager Louis van Gaal’s many signings at the club.

Blind had been impressive for the Netherlands at the 2014 World Cup, playing as a left-back.

At United, Blind operated both at left-back and in a holding midfielder role to great effect.

An excellent passer of the ball, Blind won the League Cup, the FA Cup and the Europa League before being sold back to Ajax by former United manager Jose Mourinho.

In doing so, United picked up a handy £2m profit for the player.

2. Chris Smalling (Profit: £6.5m)

When Chris Smalling was signed by Ferguson from Fulham in 2010, the jury was divided on what he would bring to the club.

Smalling is one among a select bunch of individuals who made a monumental leap from non-league football to the Premier League.

The English centre-back arrived at Craven Cottage from Maidstone United.

The Red Devils soon came knocking with a £7 million fee which Fulham did not refuse.

Smalling rose through the ranks soon enough to partner either Rio Ferdinand or Nemanja Vidic at the heart of United’s defence.

After winning a host of trophies at United and playing under several managers after Ferguson’s retirement, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decided to revamp the United defence and sold Smalling to Roma for £13.5m in 2020.

1. Daniel James (Profit: £10m)

Daniel James was one of Solskjaer’s earliest signings as the manager of United.

Bought for £15m from Swansea City, James never really fulfilled his potential at Old Trafford but did play his part for his manager in some big games.

He scored on his competitive debut for United in the 4-0 win over Chelsea at Old Trafford.

The Welshman was very close to joining Leeds United when he was at Swansea.

The Yorkshire giants came calling again and, with the signing of Jadon Sancho, Solskjaer believed that it was the right time for the club to sell the player.

United accepted a £25m offer from Leeds and made a profit of £10m.

Read: Manchester United vs Newcastle United: Premier League Preview, H2H & Predicted Line-ups.