Ultimate United Blog


United's loan stars 2018-19

Added by Philip Meese on 15 Oct 2018 21:18

A look at the players United have loaned out this season, how they are doing and what their future Old Trafford prospects are.

By Philip Meese, Chief Editor.

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With a quarter of the season gone, it’s safe to say Manchester United’s first team haven’t had the best start to the campaign, especially in the Premier League where they sit 8th in the table. As is the case every year, several of their academy players have gone out on loan to gain first team experience. This has proved valuable in the past as it gives them the chance to play on a regular basis, preparing them for if and when they make the grade at Old Trafford.

United’s poor start to the 2018-19 season has made fans wonder if some of the players farmed out might have been able to contribute to the current first team. Here’s how the nine players loaned out this campaign are getting on in their new surroundings, and how their future prospects look at Old Trafford. Are they out on loan to gain first team experience, which will help them establish a future at United, or just in the shop window to interest other clubs?

James Wilson

Wilson made a dream debut at the age of 18, scoring twice again Hull City in May 2014. It’s all gone downhill since Louis van Gaal left, and he has never started a competitive game under Mourinho.   Previous loan spells at Brighton & Hove Albion, Derby County and Sheffield United produced just five goals, although his time at Derby was cut short by a season-ending knee injury.

Wilson is under contract until 2019, with the option of a further year. He wasn’t given a squad number at the start of this season, however, and was sent on a further loan spell to Aberdeen. He has played three games so far, scoring one goal against Motherwell. Given how the last few years have gone for him, it wouldn’t be a surprise if United don’t even trigger the one-year option on his deal next summer. Clearly, his future lies away from Old Trafford.

Verdict: Shop Window

Matty Willock

Yet to make an appearance for United, Willock has spent his entire career on loan in Holland and Scotland. Last season, while on loan at St Johnstone, he scored his first senior goal. So far, he has played six of St. Mirren’s first eight games this season, and they are currently 11th in the Scottish Premier League. At the age of 22, and with his deal expiring next summer, it’s hard to imagine him making the breakthrough.

Verdict: Shop Window

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Demetri Mitchell

The young left back has already made his Premier League for United, against Crystal Palace in 2017, and he is very highly rated at Old Trafford. This is his second spell at Hearts, after last season’s loan was hampered by injury, with Mitchell claiming he has “unfinished business” at Tynecastle Park. He has already played in five games in a season which has seen the Edinburgh club take a shock early season lead at the top of the table.

Verdict: Gain Experience

Dean Henderson

The 21 year old goalkeeper instantly became first choice for Sheffield United upon arriving. He has played all 12 league games so far this season, keeping four clean sheets, as they sit at the top of the Championship. With his contract expiring in 2020, United will have a decision to make next summer, as there will be plenty of interest if he keeps up this level of performance. Will they renew his contract, and send him back on loan, or sell him in order to obtain a fee rather than risk losing him for nothing a year down the line? He may have a long term future at Old Trafford, but unless David de Gea is sold, it’s hard to see him breaking through in the immediate future.

Verdict: Shop Window

Kieran O’Hara

O’Hara is currently first choice goalkeeper for the Republic of Ireland under 21 side, and is spending this season on loan at Macclesfield Town in League Two. He has played three of the last four games, but with the goalkeeper competition already at Old Trafford, it is hard to see the 22 year old’s future at United.

Verdict: Shop Window

Joel Pereira

Of the three goalkeepers United have loaned out this season, Pereira seems to be the most likely to have any kind of future at Old Trafford. He has already played three games for United’s first team but is spending this season in his native Portugal, with de Gea and Sergio Romero ahead of him in the pecking order.

Pereira has so far played 5 games for Vitória de Setúbal who currently sit 10th in the Primeira Liga table. He still has just under three years left on his contract, so his loan seems to be more about gaining first-team experience, rather than putting him in the shop window. As is the case with Henderson, De Gea’s future at Old Trafford could determine his own.

Verdict: Gain Experience

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Axel Tuanzebe

Like Demetri Mitchell at Hearts, Tuanzebe went on loan last season, to Aston Villa, only to see the opportunity wrecked by injury. He returned to Villa Park over the summer, and has played 11 games for them so far. While Tuanzebe seems to be having a productive season, the same cannot be said for Villa themselves. They currently sit 15th in the Championship table, although only four places off a playoff place, which cost Steve Bruce his job earlier this month. Dean Smith is now the man in charge, and it remains to be seen whether Tuanzebe will remain as involved as he has so far this season.

José Mourinho has sung Tuanzebe’s praises in the past, and he will hope that this time his loan spell is injury free. The 20 year old has looked the part when given first team opportunities at United, particularly against Arsenal. It makes sense for him to be on loan, however, given that the defence is already lacking experience. It’s hardly likely than Tuanzebe would be the answer; in fact, given the way United’s season has gone, it would probably destroy his confidence. It would be no surprise to see him head out on loan next year as his contract has just under two years left, with the option of a further year.

Verdict: Gain Experience

Tim Fosu-Mensah

This was the loan deal that surprised, and annoyed, a lot of United fans. Fosu-Mensah is a Dutch international, and can provide cover at full back, central defence or in midfield. Given United’s woes at the back this season he might have been a useful addition. It’s also surprising because, at 6ft 3ins, he fits the “giant” category of the type of player that Mourinho likes in his side.

After a successful stint on loan at Crystal Palace last season, where he was quite a hit with the fans, he hardly needed another loan spell. He has been similarly received at Fulham this time around. It’s hard to say whether Fosu-Mensah is on loan because Mourinho just couldn’t guarantee him as many minutes on the pitch as he would like, or if he just doesn’t rate him. There would be no shortage of buyers if it is the latter.

Verdict: Gain Experience

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson

How his stock has fallen in the space of just two years. He impressed when drafted in under van Gaal in the 2015-16 season, and José Mourinho tied him to a new contract until 2020 as soon as he arrived at Old Trafford. Fast-forward to 2018, and his loan at League One side Scunthorpe United seems to have put him in the last chance saloon, after previous loans at Leeds & Wolves turned sour. He has played six games so far, but only one in the league. For someone who showed so much promise, it now seems likely he will be sold next summer.

Verdict: Shop Window

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