It’s fair to say Manchester United’s turbulent recruitment policy has cost them in recent seasons. The eagerness to buy their way out of a problem only exacerbated the situation to levels unseen at the club during many fans lifetimes.
United have reverted to a policy that made them so successful during Alex Ferguson’s tenure. A transfer policy coupled with young incoming stars and one or two major marquee signings reaped dividends for years in terms of a trophy haul.
After the extraordinary transfer failures of Alexis Sanchez, Angel Di Maria, and Radamel Falcao, United have decided to use their academy a lot more than under previous managers like David Moyes and Jose Mourinho.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær, like his mentor Alex Ferguson, has often used youngsters from the academy. He’s given debuts to Shola Shoretire, Mason Greenwood, Brandon Williams, Teden Mengi, Dylan Levitt and James Garner.
United have holes in their squad that need to be addressed. Fans know that centre back and a 6/8 and left-back are all areas that need to be sorted out this coming summer.
United will go into the market to address these areas, but what if there were three players that could sort this problem out for a cost-effective solution.
Here are three players from the United youth system on a loan that I think could save them millions and help them avoid the dreaded United tax when United deals with English clubs for players.
James Garner – Nottingham Forest
James Garner has been a revelation at Nottingham Forest. A failed loan spell at Watford under Vladimir Ivic saw Garner’s playing time reduce significantly when he became the latest manager to lose his job.
Garner joined Chris Houghton at Nottingham Forest in January and has been nothing short of The Reds’ revelation ever since. The club has moved away from relegation since the young midfielder’s arrival.
The English youth international, who has been on United’s books since back in 2009, is a defensive midfielder by trade and widely recognised for his abilities on the ball.
Garner has started 12 of Forest’s last 13 Championship games and has been MOTM displays against Brentford and Cardiff with goals in each have seen Garner go from strength to strength at Forest.
Forest fans on Twitter have sung the young Manchester United midfielders praises, and some have even touted the idea of Garner signing on for a second season.
One fan said:
As for James Garner, what can you say? The boy is remarkable. I hate to say it, as I’d love to see him back next season, but I genuinely think there’s a place for him at Manchester United during 2021/22. Some player. #NFFC
Garner’s ability on the ball could elevate Manchester United of so many problems in the middle of the park. Fred and Mctominay are not ball-playing midfielders and can’t pass the ball effectively as Rice or Garner.
Garner might not have Rice’s Premier League experience, but if it saves the club millions, so be it.
Ethan Laird – MK Dons
Right-back has become somewhat of a problematic issue for United. Aaron Wan Bissaka has, for the most part, been excellent for United when defending, but when going forward, his performances have been underwhelming.
Wan Bissaka, to his credit, has improved massively going forward but doesn’t fully grasp the attacking aspects of a modern full-back that is so prevalent in modern football.
Most of the attacking output comes from the other side with Luke Shaw’s improved performances. United need someone on the right flank that can offer the same production as Shaw. The full-back has the most chances created from full-back in the league. It needs to be replicated on the other side—the answer to their problems with young right-back Ethan Laird.
Laird’s time at United has been plagued with injuries, but his move to MK Dons has seen him play 18 times. Under Russell Martin, he’s finally hitting the potential he showed at youth level that Mason Greenwood over shone.
Dynamic, quick and able to hit the byline with a trick make Laird a nightmare for opposition full-backs.
Speaking to the totallyshow Ethan Laird outlined his future ambitions at United:
“I’ve been in the academy for almost nine years. It’s always been my aim to play at the Theatre of Dreams being the number one right-back – that’s what I’m going to strive for.
Talk of Aarons or another right-back being signed could be put to bed very quickly if Ethan Laird steps up to the plate next season, which could very well happen.
Teden Mengi – Derby County
Centre-back is the position that most Manchester United fans feel needs addressing. Every good title-winning season has been built on solid centre back partnerships like Ferdinand and Vidic, Bruce Pallister, Terry Carvalho, Sol Campbell, Kolo Toure etc.
Maguire and Lindelof, for large parts, have been effective in being solid, but it’s not been solid when it’s mattered like against Seville or Chelsea. The pairing cannot win titles or get United to the next level due to the lack of a quick partner.
Eric Bailly is a walking hospital patient but has all the abilities to mask Harry Maguire’s deficiencies and lack of pace. United needs someone who can stay fit for a season and offer the same qualities that the Ivorian can. Centre-back Teden Mengi could solve major issues, but this could be a major gamble. Mengi joined the academy aged seven and also made his first-team debut against LASK.
A regular starter for Wayne Rooney’s Derby side, the young England international has received lavish praise from the former United great.
“I’d very much like him back next season. It’s on the player said, Rooney.
United probably won’t give Mengi such a huge role next season and probably sign someone with more experience like Pau Torres or Jules Kounde, but the option is there if they decide to use it.