While many may think the iconic Ji-Sung Park to have been the first East Asian footballer signed by Manchester United, that honour actually lies with Dong Fangzhuo. In arguably the most baffling career trajectory in history, the striker broke into football with a single season at Chinese second division outfit, Dalian Saidelong, for whom he scored two goals in 18 appearances.
This measly return somehow earned him a move to his country's biggest club at the time, Dalian Shide. Eight games and one goal later and he was on the move again, this time pitching up at arguably the biggest club in the world. Man United somehow paid half a million quid, with the potential for the sum to rise to three and a half millions, for his services, all despite knowing he would not be eligible for a work permit. An immediate loan to Royal Antwerp followed and he never once played a game in Manchester.
The Premier League giants were not out of pocket for the gamble signing, though, due to a clause inserted when they signed Fangzhuo. Dalian Shide agreed to refund United if they were not satisfied two years after the striker completed the move to Old Trafford. The flop moved back to his ex-club after leaving Manchester, and retired aged 29 after spells in Poland, Portugal and Armenia.
Fabio Borini - Sunderland > AC Milan