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What happened to Zoran Tosic after leaving Manchester United

Tosic made just five substitute appearances for Manchester United, but has gone onto play more than 70 games in two seasons in Russia

It was back in late 2008 that United's scouting network saw them announce plans to sign two talented young Serbians from Partizan Belgrade.

Tosic was one, while the second player in the deal Adem Ljajic never made it to Old Trafford after the Red Devils decided not to take up their option to sign.

Ljajic went onto move to Fiorentina instead and has had a controversial two months, being attacked by his manager, and then banned from his national team for refusing to sing the national anthem.

Tosic, four years older, did make it to Manchester, but has since departed, and has kept a lower profile than Ljajic but been far more successful.

He was 21 when he signed, a left-winger who had already earned 12 international caps, and Sir Alex Ferguson attended his work permit hearing personally, so keen was he to sign.

So what went wrong at Old Trafford for Tosic remains a bit of a mystery. He impressed regularly for the club's reserve team and featured in pre-seasons for the club, but was barely afforded a first team start to show what he could do.

United had spent around £7 million on him and given him the number 14 shirt, but after seeing him first hand, Ferguson clearly was not minded to trust him with first team football.

Only 5ft 7 in height, it is likely this counted against him with his manager concerned over his capability to cut it in the Premier League. Arriving in January it was little surprise he didn't really feature in 08-09, but when he failed to progress and gain a start the next season either it was clear something was amiss.

Instead of having him sit on the bench he was loaned to FC Koln in Germany where he scored five times in 14 games, before going to World Cup 2010 with Serbia.

That summer United decided an £8 million offer from Russian club CSKA Moscow was too good to refuse, and cashed in, despite the winger spending just one year at the club.

At CSKA Moscow he has been a big success, playing more than 70 games scoring 16 goals, featuring 43 times in the season just gone.

He is a free-kick specialist, and has won over the Russian fans with his tricks and skills, supplying CSKA's freescoring Ivorian striker Seydou Doumbia. 

 In Moscow he has become a Russian Cup winner, and led them to second place in this year's Russian Premier League. He remains a full international, having more than 40 caps, and he will return to the UK when Serbia take on both Scotland and Wales in the World Cup 2014 qualifiers.

He is now 25, and appears to be enjoying his football in Russia, and after spending a year in United's reserves, he will appreciate being a regular first choice.

His time at United was a disappointment for all, as a full international already you can't blame Tosic for wanting to leave if he was not getting the opportunities. Nevertheless it is a shame his talent couldn't be appreciated on these shores, and it is a positive thing to see he has bounced back. 

For United fans, seeing him get less chances than Bebe in his first season, it will remain a puzzler.

Should United have given Tosic more chances?

image: © Yoca91

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