A three-time Premier League winner in Brazil, a winger in the American third-division and a trio of former team-mates together in Argentina… the SEVEN forgotten Manchester United stars still playing abroad

In one of the most bizarre transfers in recent years, former Man United star Jesse Lingard joined South Korean side FC Seoul on Thursday.

The former Red Devils forward signed a two-year deal with the option to add a third with the K League 1 side.

Mail Sport understands that the 31-year-old, who was released from his contract at Nottingham Forest at the end of last season, had offers from as many as 26 clubs from around the world, including FC Seoul and Lazio.

While Lingard may have opted for a move to South Korea, there are plenty of former Red Devils that have, similarly, favoured moves abroad. 

Here, Mail Sport takes a look at the seven forgotten Man United stars still playing overseas.

Jesse Lingard was unveiled at a press conference in the South Korean capital on Thursday

Other former Man United stars, like Edinson Cavani, are also plying their trade abroad

Other former Man United stars, like Edinson Cavani, are also plying their trade abroad

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Jesse Lingard

Let’s start with the main man, Jesse Lingard. 

Lingard spent 14 years on the books at Manchester United after graduating through the club’s academy. He made his Premier League debut for the Red Devils in 2014, before going on to score 35 times in 232 appearances across all competitions with United.

During that period, he’d also spend time on loan with Leicester, Birmingham, Derby and West Ham, before eventually departing Old Trafford on a free transfer to Forest in 2022.

The 31-year-old endured a tough time with Steve Cooper’s side, scoring twice in 20 appearances across all competitions, before being released again in July 2023.

The free agent had been searching for a new club over the past seven months, having reportedly had an opportunity to join French side Lille while also holding talks with Portland Timbers over a free transfer to the MLS side . Neither move came to fruition.

Lingard, who has been capped 32 times by England, had also spent time training with West Ham before moving to work with Steven Gerrard’s Al-Ettifaq.

However, the former Manchester United forward has opted to sign a two-year deal with the option to add a third with K League 1 side FC Seoul. 

Lingard, 31, said the commitment shown by FC Seoul to sign him was a factor in his decision

Lingard, 31, said the commitment shown by FC Seoul to sign him was a factor in his decision 

The former Man United forward had been searching for a club since departing forest last summer

The former Man United forward had been searching for a club since departing forest last summer

Shinji Kagawa

The Japanese star, now 33, arrived as a marquee signing in 2012 from Borussia Dortmund and provided United fans with the occasional moments of brilliance in his first season – becoming the first Asian player to score a Premier League hat-trick against Norwich.

However, he struggled to replicate the same level of consistent form that he did under Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, and returned to the Bundesliga side one year after United’s title triumph.

After spells at Besiktas, Real Zaragoza, PAOK, Sint Truiden before returning to Cerezo Osaka, where he first began his career, in 2023.

Odion Ighalo

Ighalo has played in Saudi Arabia since 2021 with the Nigerian striker first joining Al-Shabab, before moving to Al-Hilal and finally landing at Al-Wehda. 

The Nigerian spent just two seasons at Old Trafford, after initially joining on a loan until the end of the season deal 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 30 January 2021.

He swiftly left for Saudi Arabia once his time in Manchester was up.  

Shinja Kagawa made 57 appearances for Manchester United before leaving in 2014

Shinja Kagawa made 57 appearances for Manchester United before leaving in 2014

Odion Ighalo spent just two seasons at Old Trafford, after initially joining on a loan until the end of the season deal in January 2020

Odion Ighalo spent just two seasons at Old Trafford, after initially joining on a loan until the end of the season deal in January 2020

Sergio Romero

After leaving United in 2021, Romero enjoyed a short spell with Venezia before he returned to Argentina. 

In August 2022, the keeper ended his 15-years stay in Europe and signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Boca Juniors.

Last season, the former back-up made 32 first-team appearances for the Argentinian side. His most appearances in season since 2012-13. 

Rafael

You may be rubbing your eyes in disbelief and asking whether Rafael – the full-back who made his debut for United back 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 picking up three Premier League titles along the way. 

After leaving Manchester, Rafael headed to France and spent five years at Lyon before eventually departing in 2020. 

After a brief spell in the Turkish Super Lig with İstanbul Başakşehir, Rafael – at the age of 33 – returned to Brazil to sign for Botafogo. 

Since joining the club in 2021, however, he’s made just 19 appearances in total. 

Goalkeeper Sergio Romero spent six years at Old Trafford before returning to Argentina

Goalkeeper Sergio Romero spent six years at Old Trafford before returning to Argentina

Full-back Rafael - who now plays for Brazilian side Botafogo - made his United debut in 2008

Full-back Rafael – who now plays for Brazilian side Botafogo – made his United debut in 2008

Gabriel Obertan

Perhaps the only player who’s current situation might 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 USL League One side Charlotte Independence.

He made the move out to the States back in August 2021 and even re-signed with the Independence for the remainder of the 2022 season

Edinson Cavani 

Arguably, the best player on this list. Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani is fondly remember at Old Trafford despite only being there for two season. 

After triumphs at Palermo, Napoli and PSG, Cavani eventually made his way to the Premier League for a brief stint before leaving in 2022. 

He left to join Spanish side Valencia but, after just one season in La Liga, Cavani eventually left to join Argentinian side Boca Juniors. 

In doing so, the former Red Devil linked up with goalkeeper Romero and fellow ex-United star Marcos Rojo, who also plays for the club.  

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