How impactful were United's 2002/03 signings?

Friday 09 June 2023 07:00

Erik ten Hag demonstrated his eye for a signing during both the summer and winter transfer windows in his first season as manager of Manchester United.

A total of five permanent signings were followed, in January, by three loan arrivals, as Erik began to mould the United squad in his image.

The likes of Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez immediately assumed leadership roles, while Reds fans were left to marvel at the passing range of Christian Eriksen and the trickery of Antony.

Young left-back Tyrell Malacia also started a number of fixtures, while loan signings Marcel Sabitzer and Wout Weghorst both played important roles in what can be regarded as a successful 2022/23 campaign for Ten Hag's team. 

Now that the season has concluded, we can reflect on Erik's signings and the impact they had. Read on to see how each of our acquisitions fared after arriving at Old Trafford...

How our new boys got off the mark Video

How our new boys got off the mark

Six of Erik ten Hag's signings scored for the Reds in 2022/23 - watch their first United goals here...


44 games | 8 goals | 3 assists

Arriving from Ajax last summer, Antony made an instant impact, scoring on his debut in our 3-1 triumph over Arsenal at Old Trafford. The Brazilian winger has trademarked the action of cutting inside and curling the ball with his left foot towards the far corner of the net.

Such quality saw Antony earn four of our Goal-of-the-Month awards across 2022/23, and his match-winning effort against Barcelona, in the Europa League play-off at the Theatre of Dreams was also named our Goal of the Season.

A wealth of individual accolades and winning the Carabao Cup in February. Not a bad first season in English football for the 23-year-old.


53 games | 7 goals | 7 assists

Another Brazilian arrival, Casemiro joined the Reds as a proven winner, with five Champions League titles to his name. Our no.18 established himself in our midfield, and contributed at both ends of the pitch.

His first goal for United, a last-minute equaliser away at Chelsea, prompted remarkable scenes of joy, and Casemiro followed that up by accumulating an impressive eight Man-of-the-Match awards. Only Marcus Rashford (14) earned more across the campaign.

While the 31-year-old's two red-card suspensions meant he missed six games for the Reds, he more than made up for it. A stellar display and opening goal in the Carabao Cup final were crucial to United winning our first trophy in six years, and he also scored vital efforts against the likes of Bournemouth (home and away). Let's not forget his brace in the Emirates FA Cup against Reading, too, as we went all the way to the final.

Every Casemiro goal in 2022/23 Video

Every Casemiro goal in 2022/23

Casemiro made quite the impact in front of goal in his first United season, scoring seven times…


44 games | 2 goals | 10 assists

Midfield maestro. That is the best way to describe Eriksen, and in his first season at United, he showed a superb array of passing and ability to dictate games. Being named Man of the Match in our Europa League away tie at Sheriff Tiraspol, Christian adopted a deeper role alongside Casemiro that allowed United to control games.

An unselfish assist for Marcus Rashford in the enjoyable win over Arsenal illustrated his team ethic, while his dead-ball deliveries were valuable at key moments of the campaign.

Eriksen suffered an ankle injury in our FA Cup match against Reading in January, keeping him out until the Reds' clash with Everton in April, but finished the season as a regular starter once more.

Are these United’s best assists of the season? Video

Are these United’s best assists of the season?

Garnacho, Casemiro, Shaw, Antony and Fernandes all produced brilliant assists for goals in 2022/23…


45 games | 1 goal

Licha, like Antony, followed Ten Hag from Ajax to United last summer, and he wasted little time becoming a fan favourite. Passion, determination and bravery are the Argentinian's key traits and he displayed these on countless occasions throughout 2022/23. His performance in our 2-1 win over Liverpool in August, in particular, can be argued as the moment that first endeared the centre-back to our supporters.

Over the course of the season, Martinez earned three Man-of-the Match awards, for his dominant displays, and he even went and won the 2022 World Cup with Argentina during the winter.

Unfortunately, Licha suffered a metatarsal injury in the first leg of our Europa League quarter-final against Sevilla, ruling him out for the remainder of the season, but he still managed to make 45 appearances for the Reds in 2022/23.

Why every Red loves Licha Video

Why every Red loves Licha

Ten tackles – and one goal – which summarise Lisandro Martinez’s brilliant first season at United…


39 games

Malacia was the very first signing of the Ten Hag era at United, and his 39 appearances in 2022/23 show just how important he was, and continues to be, for the Reds. A standout performance against Manchester City was a high point for Malacia, who has shown his capabilities in defence and attack.

Tyrell has shared the left-back spot well with Luke Shaw, and when the latter was moved into the centre, due to injuries to our centre-backs, Malacia looks resolute and tenacious in the left-sided role.

The 23-year-old awaits his first United goal, but he wont be too disappointed after finishing his first season in English football with Carabao Cup success under his belt, and the prospect of Champions League football next term.


Martin Dubravka arrived on loan from fellow Premier League club Newcastle United at the beginning of the season, and worked alongside David De Gea and Tom Heaton. Martin made two appearances for the Reds, both in the Carabao Cup, before returning to his parent club in January. Following Dubravka's departure, Jack Butland came in for the remainder season, from Crystal Palace. Jack did not make an appearance during his time at United, but said it was an honour to fulfil the dream of representing the club he had supported since he was a child.

Both Wout Weghorst and Marcel Sabitzer joined the Reds on loan in January, from Burnley and Bayern Munich, respectively, and had a significant impact as United won the Carabao Cup, got to the final of the FA Cup and finished third in the Premier League.

Wout played 31 times for United in 2022/23, scoring two goals and laying on three assists. The passion poured out of him when he scored his first Old Trafford goal, against Real Betis, and is an image from the season we will not forget.

Marcel, on the other hand, played 18 times after arriving on the January transfer deadline day, scoring three goals and assisting once. Of those three goals, two were his brilliant brace in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final against Sevilla at Old Trafford. Unfortunately Sabitzer suffered a season-ending knee injury in May, meaning he could play no part in our run-in.