Table of Contents
In one of the strangest transfers in recent years, former Man United star Jesse Lingard joined South Korea’s FC Seoul on Thursday.
The former Red Devils forward signed a two-year contract with the option of adding a third with the K League 1 team.
Mail Sport understands the 31-year-old, who was released from his contract at Nottingham Forest at the end of last season, received offers from up to 26 clubs around the world, including FC Seoul and Lazio.
While Lingard may have opted to move to South Korea, there are many former Red Devils who have similarly favored moving abroad.
Here, Mail Sport takes a look at the seven forgotten Man United stars still playing abroad.
Jesse Lingard was introduced Thursday at a news conference in the South Korean capital.
Other former Man United stars, such as Edinson Cavani, also work abroad.
Your browser does not support iframes.
Let’s start with the protagonist, Jesse Lingard.
Lingard spent 14 years at Manchester United after graduating from the club’s academy. He made his Premier League debut with the Red Devils in 2014, before scoring 35 goals in 232 appearances in all competitions for United.
During that period, he also spent time on loan at Leicester, Birmingham, Derby and West Ham, before leaving Old Trafford on a free transfer to Forest in 2022.
The 31-year-old endured a difficult time with Steve Cooper’s side, scoring two goals in 20 appearances in all competitions, before being released again in July 2023.
The free agent had been searching for a new club for the past seven months and was reportedly given the opportunity to join French side Lille while holding talks with Portland Timbers over a free transfer to the MLS team. None of the movements came to fruition.
Lingard, who has 32 caps for England, also spent time training with West Ham before moving on to work with Steven Gerrard’s Al-Ettifaq.
However, the former Manchester United striker opted to sign a two-year contract with the option of adding a third with K League 1 side FC Seoul.
Lingard, 31, said the commitment shown by FC Seoul in signing him was a factor in his decision.
The former Man United striker had been searching for a club since leaving the forest last summer.
The Japanese star, now 33, arrived as a marquee signing in 2012 from Borussia Dortmund and provided United fans with occasional moments of brilliance in his first season, becoming the first Asian player to score a hat-trick in the Premier League against Norwich.
However, he struggled to replicate the same level of consistent form he had under Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, and returned to the Bundesliga side a year after United’s title triumph.
After spells at Besiktas, Real Zaragoza, PAOK and Sint Truiden before returning to Cerezo Osaka, where he started his career, in 2023.
Ighalo has played in Saudi Arabia since 2021 and the Nigerian striker first joined Al-Shabab, before moving to Al-Hilal and finally landing at Al-Wehda.
The Nigerian spent just two seasons at Old Trafford, after initially arriving on loan until the end of the season in January 2020.
However, with football suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, United announced that they had agreed to extend Ighalo’s loan deal until January 30, 2021.
He quickly left for Saudi Arabia once his time in Manchester was over.
Shinja Kagawa made 57 appearances for Manchester United before leaving in 2014.
Odion Ighalo spent just two seasons at Old Trafford, after initially arriving on loan until the end of the season in January 2020.
After leaving United in 2021, Romero enjoyed a brief spell with Venezia before returning to Argentina.
In August 2022, the goalkeeper ended his 15-year stay in Europe and signed a two and a half year contract with Boca Juniors.
Last season, the former substitute played 32 games with the Argentine first team. His most appearances in a season since 2012-13.
You might rub your eyes in disbelief and wonder if Rafael, the full-back who debuted for United in 2008, could still be playing. Well, you’d be surprised.
The Brazilian spent seven seasons at Old Trafford between 2008 and 2015, making 170 appearances and winning three Premier League titles along the way.
After leaving Manchester, Rafael headed to France and spent five years in Lyon before finally leaving in 2020.
After a brief spell in the Turkish Super League with İstanbul Başakşehir, Rafael, at the age of 33, returned to Brazil to sign for Botafogo.
However, since joining the club in 2021, he has only made 19 appearances in total.
Goalkeeper Sergio Romero spent six years at Old Trafford before returning to Argentina
Full-back Rafael, who now plays for Brazilian club Botafogo, made his debut for United in 2008.
Perhaps the only player whose current situation could rival Lingard’s in terms of shock factor.
Former Man United winger Gabriel Obertan, who spent just two years at the club, now plays in the American third division.
The French winger plays for Charlotte Independence in the USL League One.
He moved to the United States in August 2021 and even re-signed with Independence for the remainder of the 2022 season.
Possibly the best player on this list. Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani is fondly remembered at Old Trafford even though he was only there for two seasons.
After triumphs at Palermo, Napoli and PSG, Cavani finally reached the Premier League for a brief period before leaving in 2022.
He left to join Spanish side Valencia but, after just one season in La Liga, Cavani eventually left to join Argentine side Boca Juniors.
In doing so, the former Diablo Rojo joined goalkeeper Romero and his former United star Marcos Rojo, who also plays for the club.