Man United’s four January transfer deadline day signings as Old Trafford dreams came true

Manchester United aren’t renowned for their deadline day signings in the January transfer window, yet they’ve still made four in recent years.

If business needs to be done, it needs to be done – and the Red Devils could still pull off some late shocks to boost their Champions League hopes.

Many believe interim manager Ralf Rangnick needs a central midfielder, while others would like to see him sure up their leaky defence.

They may also decide to let some players leave, with a handful of stars clamouring for a Premier League move.

Here, Mirror Football takes a look at United’s deadline day signings in the January window… including a striker’s fairy tale story.

Perhaps the only man to represent both Manchester clubs but never play a single minute for either of them, Veseli joined United from City in January 2012.

The 19-year-old centre-back arrived at Old Trafford with a fine reputation – helping Switzerland win the U17 World Cup in 2009.

“I am very happy and it is an honour to sign for Man Utd,” Veseli told reporters. “I can’t wait to get started.

“I am looking forward to showing everybody what I can do on the pitch… I am very thankful to Sir Alex Ferguson for bringing me to such a great club.

“Man Utd has a long history of younger players coming through and hopefully I follow and do the same.”

Although Veseli never played for United or City, he did manage to get some experience in England with Ipswich Town, Port Vale and Bury.

He left the UK in the summer of 2015 and has since gone on to achieve success in Italy, achieving two promotions to Serie A with Empoli and current side Salernitana.

Veseli has also become a full international, winning 38 senior caps and starring at Euro 2016 for Albania after switching his allegiance.

Andy Kellett

United stunned the footballing world when they announced the loan signing of Bolton Wanderers youngster Andy Kellett seven years ago.

The 21-year-old had played just four times in the Championship for his parent club and was set to continue the 2014-15 season on loan at League Two Plymouth Argyle.

“When I got in there, the manager – Neil Lennon at the time – said, ‘There’s an opportunity to go to Man Utd, if you want,'” Kellett exclusively told Mirror Football on deadline day.

“I didn’t think it was a joke, but it was a shock to me. Obviously when he told me I was buzzing.”

Kellett was signed to bolster United’s U21 squad and, although he never played in the first-team, did a great job – helping them win the Premier League 2 title.

The midfielder, who can also play at left-back, went on to represent Wigan Athletic, Chesterfield, Notts County and Fylde before joining non-league Guiseley in 2020.

Nathan Bishop

On this day two years ago, United snapped up talented goalkeeper Nathan Bishop from League One side Southend United.

The 20-year-old had made a great start to his career, making 39 appearances in all competitions and picking up an England U20 cap.

Bishop’s impressive form persuaded the Red Devils to give him a two-and-a-half-year deal and the chance to work with some of the biggest players in the world.

“The opportunity to join Man Utd is a dream come true,” he said. “This club has a great record of developing goalkeepers and I cannot wait to work with the coaches here.”

Bishop’s opportunities during his first 18 months at Old Trafford were limited, although he did feature in the EFL Trophy and get the chance to sit on a Premier League bench.

The youngster was snapped up by Mansfield Town on a season-long loan last July and has since flourished, starting all of the Stags’ League Two fixtures this season.

Thanks in part to Bishop’s efforts, Mansfield were seventh heading into the weekend – just three points off the automatic promotion places with two games in hand.

“I think when you look at the other goalkeepers in our league, and the one above, he is as good as anything,” said Mansfield manager Nigel Clough in September.

“Although he’s not played many games for the best part of 18 months, you can see he’s been around a place like Man Utd.

“He talks about [Bruno] Fernandes doing his shooting afterwards, it’s bound to improve you.”

It may be a while until we see Bishop in a United shirt, but he’s certainly a talent worth waiting for.

Odion Ighalo

United fans were amazed when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer announced the signing of Odion Ighalo, initially on loan until the end of the season

The 30-year-old striker had made a name for himself at Watford, scoring 15 Premier League goals in 2015-16 to help the Hornets finish in 13th.

He’d spent the last three years of his career playing in China – finding the back of the net 46 times – and few expected the Nigeria international to return to England.

“Odion is an experienced player,” insisted Solskjaer. “He will come in and give us an option of a different type of centre-forward for the short spell he’s staying with us.”

Ighalo couldn’t believe his luck. When asked what Premier League ground he was most looking forward to playing at after Watford’s promotion in 2015, he said Old Trafford.

“It’ll be a dream come true to play against Man Utd, the team I supported in my youth,” revealed Ighalo.

He went on to stay at Old Trafford until January 2021 – scoring five goals in 23 appearances in all competitions – and will never forget his time at the club.

“It’s so hard to see this dream come to an end, but I give God the glory for helping me fulfil this lifelong dream of putting on a Man Utd shirt as a player and represent this great club, it was indeed an honour I will forever cherish and be grateful for,” he told the club’s website.

“To the manager I say thank you for trusting and believing in me when many did not… I’m still and would remain a Man Utd fan forever. Once a Red, always a Red.”