Manchester United brought in teenage winger Amad Diallo in the January transfer window. Jesse Lingard has also left on loan to travel to West Ham, joining Andreas Pereira and Diogo Dalot among those on the senior squad currently playing their football elsewhere.
But the window was also an opportunity to send a number of young players on loan to gain invaluable first-team experience until the end of the season.
Here’s a rundown of the five youngsters United have loaned out on loan over the past five weeks, plus a catch up on three others who left Old Trafford for one-season contracts in the summer.
Loan Club: MK Donations
Level: League One – midfield
Teenage full-back Ethan Laird played twice for the first team last season in the Europa League and joined MK Dons in early January in order to develop with more consistent senior playing time.
He has already started four straight games in Ligue 1, mostly as a right-back, and even got an assist in his second appearance only in a win over Fleetwood.
A good season for Laird would be to continue playing regularly. The club are currently in the middle of their league table, but a good run of results could propel them into the playoffs. Likewise, however, the campaign could easily turn into a relegation fight with some poor results.
Loan Club: Nottingham Forest
Level: Championship – relegation battle
Previously compared to Michael Carrick, James Garner started the season on loan at Watford and was enjoying a strong campaign. He was making a relatively regular start in the league and the Hornets were in contention for promotion to the Premier League.
However, a change in manager just before Christmas saw Garner’s chances run dry. His loan was canceled on January 30 and later that same day United sent him to Nottingham Forest.
Forest will give the 19-year-old a different kind of challenge and experience as he finds himself in a very different situation, having struggled to stay out of the relegation zone all season.
Loan Club: Club Brugge
Level: Jupiler Pro League – fugitive leaders
After her initial one-season loan to Werder Bremen was cut short, Tahith Chong joined Club Brugge and is likely to end the season with a title-winning medal in Belgium.
The Dutch winger, now 21, has appeared 15 times in all competitions for Bremen across the pitch, but only twice as a starter. His playing time also came to an abrupt end in early January and he has spent his last four Bundesliga games with the club as an unused substitute.
United staff are hopeful that Chong will be able to thrive in a winning team in Belgium, with Europa League football to look forward to as well, in large part because he’s reaching the age when it’s time for long-term success at Old Trafford. shrinks rapidly.
Loan Club: Deportivo Alaves
Level: La Liga – Relegation battle
Facundo Pellistri joined United from Penarol on the summer transfer deadline day in October, following positive criticism from former Penarol manager and Old Trafford cult hero Diego Forlan.
The Uruguayan teenager is yet to make his first-team debut, despite having trained with the first-team and impressing in games at the Under-23 level. There was a feeling that he had quickly passed the duties of the reserve team and needed senior football to continue his development.
United were unwilling to send him to the Championship due to the physical nature of the league and instead chose the Spanish side of Alaves, where there will also be no language barrier.
Loan Club: Derby County
Level: Championship – relegation battle
Teden Mengi was on the bench for United’s first team at 17 last season and hadn’t turned 18 for long when he made his debut in a Europa League knockout game. He is highly rated at Old Trafford and has been promoted to the first team for training ahead of this season.
A loan transfer to Derby, where he can develop under United legend Wayne Rooney in his first managerial role, looks like a good opportunity to gain vital experience.
Derby had endured a bad season until Rooney took over, initially as a keeper. They’ve won six of their last 11 league games, including the last three on the rebound, and have started moving away from the relegation zone.
Loan Club: Caen
Level: Ligue 2 – mid-table
United landed former young PSG player Aliou Traoré in 2017 when he was just 16. This season, the great French midfielder was loaned to his native country with Caen, the Norman club where N’Golo Kante made his mark before joining Leicester.
The 20-year-old has mostly been in the first team, although starts have been difficult to secure. Two of his four starts came earlier this month, but he has not been involved in the last two teams.
Loan Club: Huddersfield
Level: Championship – mid-table
Joel Castro Pereira has been with United since 2012 and will soon be 25. He was well thought out by Jose Mourinho, who affectionately called him “the kid,” but was never able to make the breakthrough and join Huddersfield in August on his sixth loan.
Pereira has largely struggled to make a starter during one of his spells away from Old Trafford, peaking at 25 appearances at Hearts in Scotland last season. He spent most of his time with Huddersfield on the bench and only played one game.
Loan Club: City of Salford
Level: League Two – contenders for promotion
Di’Shon Bernard made his debut for United in the Europa League last season and played admirably other than scoring a decisive goal against his own side. He’s still well thought out and has made regular starts in Ligue 2 since joining Salford City in mid-October.
The 20-year-old has started 13 of the last 15 Ligue 2 games since settling and establishing himself in November. Salford has been in and around the playoff positions all season and if Bernard could make at least 30 appearances on a successful team that would be a big step.
Matej Kovar and Dylan Levitt were on loan at Swindon and Charlton respectively until January, but neither were loaned a second time when those short-term deals ended.
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