Pogba & more 8 horrible transfer decisions made by Matt Judge at Manchester United

Pogba & more 8 horrible transfer decisions made by Matt Judge at Manchester United

Pogba & more 8 horrible transfer decisions made by Matt Judge at Manchester United

Matt Judge resigned from his position as Man United’s Director of Football Negotiations on Friday.

He had basically worked as the club’s transfer chief since 2014, negotiating with clubs for players and also negotiating player contracts too.

In his term, he left the club with a net spend of -£600m and made some really poor signings. Here we take a look at his worst decisions at Old Trafford.

The entire Alexis Sanchez deal
Judge was the one who organized the deal that saw Alexis Sanchez arrive at Man United in 2018, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan joining Arsenal in a straight swap. Not only was Sanchez given the no.7 shirt, but he was also given a lot of luxuries by Judge & co.

Sanchez received over £500,000-a-week wages, making him the highest-paid player at United during his stint at the club. In 45 appearances for United, he scored just 4 goals and provided 9 assists.

He’s regarded as one of United’s worst ever signings and the overly expensive, inflated deal with all Judge’s doing.

Bringing back Pogba for record fee
Matt was given the responsibility of negotiating the transfer fee with Juventus to bring back Paul Pogba in 2016. At that time, his value was around £60m (as per Transfermarkt). But Judge felt it would only be okay to bring him back in a blockbuster deal.

Pogba was made the most expensive signing in the club’s history, with United paying £89m to Juventus for his services. He also became one of the highest-paid players at the club and a lot of hype was created around his return.

Pogba’s stint at United has been topsy-turvy and he’s been extremely inconsistent, meaning that overinflated fee negotiated by Judge is now widely mocked.

Signing Harry Maguire for £80m
The greatest incompetency of Judge as a transfer negotiator was exposed in the summer of 2019. United needed a centre-back and earmarked Harry Maguire as the solution to their issues. The Red Devils had scouted the Englishman for over a year after failing to sign him in 2018 for Jose Mourinho.

At that time, Leicester City were reportedly willing to accept around £50m for Maguire. Fast-forwarded to 2019 and they somehow convinced Judge to pay much, much more.

United ended up paying £80m for Maguire, who has since been dragged back by that huge price tag and proven to be a disappointing signing – all thanks to the poor negotiation work of Judge.

The Angel di Maria deal
One of the first deals which Judge negotiated for United was the one involving signing Angel di Maria from Real Madrid in 2014. The Argentine winger was seen as the ‘ideal signing’ for a United side lacking creativity.

Real played hardball on it and thoroughly played Judge at the negotiation table. United paid £59m for the winger, breaking their transfer record in the process.

Di Maria stayed one single at Old Trafford, failing to help them win any silverware and leaving in a bitter note after being dismayed by life in Manchester. It ended up being the first (of many) flop deals set up by Judge.

Signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka after scouting 800+ right-backs
Man United needed to sign a right-back to fix their issues in 2019 and decided to scout over 800 right-backs in an attempt to find the best. That was narrowed down to 10 and then to 3, out of which Aaron Wan-Bissaka was the most gettable and seen as best suited for the club.

Matt Judge took the decision to negotiate this transfer and Crystal Palace realized a chance to make a fortune. They convinced the transfer chief to pay up to £50m for a player who had only played in the Premier League for one season. Judge agreed to it and ended up getting played at the negotiation table.

3 years later and Wan-Bissaka is not even a regular starter anymore and could be sold in the summer.

Contract failures
Handing Phil Jones a long-term deal in 2019

A few months before signing Maguire, Man United thought that it’d be great to tie Phil Jones to a long-term deal. It was clear that Jones was not fit to be a regular starter anymore owning to his injury-prone nature and erroneous style on the pitch.

But still, Judge negotiated to extend Jones' contract to June 2023. This was apparently a tactic encouraged by Ed Woodward, who felt doing so would increase the player’s value. Instead, Jones has still struggled with injuries in the last 3 years and made a handful of appearances since January 2020.

Giving Matic a new deal in 2020

Nemanja Matic was clearly at the bottom of the pecking order at United in the summer of 2020 and heading towards the end of his career. Inspite of that, Judge thought it’d be a great idea to give a 31-year-old midfielder a new long-term deal.

Matic got to sign a 3-year deal with the club in 2020, basically as an excuse not to sign a defensive midfielder in all these years. Judge was the mastermind behind the contract and ended up making another blunder.

Constantly renewing Mata and Grant’s deals

What has been truly astounding from Man United is how they’ve offered old players who have nothing to give to the team deals in recent years. The best example probably is the curious case of Lee Grant.

Since joining the club in 2018, the goalkeeper has constantly had his deal extended for the last 4 years. He’s made a total of 2 competitive appearances in those years.

Even Juan Mata’s case is surprising. Mata lost his role at the club years ago and Bruno Fernandes’ arrival in January 2020 meant United could finally let him go. However, Juan has been given contract extensions in the last two seasons for a reason only Matt Judge knows
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