ARTICLES Opinion

Three loan moves we could see before the transfer window shuts

Manchester United have done some impressive transfer business so far this summer, having brought Tom Heaton, Jadon Sancho, and Raphael Varane to Old Trafford, and there is potential for another signing with the window still open, albeit for a matter of days. With these additions arriving, squad depth is ever-increasing, meaning there could be limited game time for some younger members of the squad.

We have already seen several youngsters go out on loan, including the likes of Axel Tuanzebe and Brandon Williams, who have signed for Aston Villa and Norwich City respectively. Facundo Pellistri also secured a loan move back to La Liga to re-join Alaves.

It could well be the case that we see more youngsters get loan moves, to give them valuable experience playing first-team football and allow them to further their development.

Amad

Manchester United fans had to wait for several months to see Amad in action for the first time, due to his move from Atalanta not being completed until January. The winger is a player with phenomenal talent, as he showcased in his few appearances for the first team last season, and for the under-23s, where he scored four times in just three games.

A loan spell for Amad would be an ideal opportunity for him to gain regular first-team minutes. He is certainly capable of holding his own in the first team at Old Trafford, as his performances against AC Milan, Leicester City, and Wolves showed. He was on the scoresheet against Milan and assisted Mason Greenwood against the Foxes in the Premier League. However, playing in an unfamiliar role centrally, Amad was excellent against Wolves. His dribbling ability stood out at Molineux, and he wasn’t afraid to take players on, often skipping past their challenges or drawing a foul.

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An ideal move for Amad would be one in the Premier League, where he could further hone his skills in a competition where he will hopefully one day play regularly for United. Crystal Palace has been a side linked with the Ivorian international. This move could make sense, with Palace seemingly lacking a first-choice right-winger, with former Red Devil Wilfred Zaha playing more often than not on the left wing, and Andros Townsend leaving the club. Amad would get plenty of game time at Selhurst Park. New manager Patrick Viera is rebuilding the club and reshaping the squad, as the Eagles transfer business this summer shows. Amad fits the youthful philosophy the Frenchman is building, would no doubt slot right into their team.

Sheffield United are also strongly rumoured to be interested in taking the winger on loan, although a move to the Championship generally doesn’t seem like a smart move for Amad, considering how well he has played in the Premier League already for United. Another good loan destination could be the Bundesliga, a league notorious for developing youngsters. Jadon Sancho himself is a product of that. However, there do not seem to be any suitors, and this is more a suggestion rather than a rumour.

If Amad does end up with a Premier League loan, it will be a great opportunity for him to showcase his talent even more and get regular football at the highest level week in, week out. Testing himself against some of the league’s best defenders will be pivotal for Amad and is definitely the next stage in his development.

Teden Mengi

19-year-old centre-back Teden Mengi spent time on loan at Derby County last season. He played nine times for Wayne Rooney’s side, who avoided relegation by the finest of margins on the final day of the season. In eight of his appearances, Mengi played in his usual centre-back position, whilst he played once in a less familiar right-back role away to Wycombe Wanderers, which saw Derby win 2-1. Frustratingly for Mengi, he picked up a season-ending hamstring injury in mid-April, which saw him return to Manchester United earlier than planned for treatment.

Despite tough times for the Rams on and off the field, Mengi impressed during his brief loan spell. His positional play was generally second to none, and the youngster was often in an excellent position to make a vital block or clearance. If he was caught out of position, he would usually be quick enough to either keep up with an attacker or overtake him. Crunching tackles also became a staple of his game. Another impressive aspect of Mengi’s game that was on show at Derby was his passing ability. He would regularly look to play balls over the top for strikers to run onto, or begin attacks in a less risky way, by finding a pass to a midfielder. 

Considering this was Mengi’s first time playing a long run of first-team football, he looked right at home. As a result of these performances, and most likely previous games for United, the centre-back found himself in Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s pre-season plans. After fully recovering from his injury, Mengi started the first three friendlies United played this summer and played 90 minutes against Brentford at Old Trafford. The first of those three games just so happened to be against Derby County.

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A return to Derby on loan, without a doubt, seems to be the most sensible move for Mengi at this stage. It seems too early in his career for a loan move to somewhere such as the Premier League and playing in the Championship could further improve his all-round game. Whilst there is always the option to move abroad for a season, return to familiar surroundings at Pride Park, in an extremely competitive league, is the most logical thing to do. Mengi clearly fits the bill at Derby as last season suggested, and there is not much doubt that he would get regular game time for the Rams. 

It has been suggested for some time now that United and Derby have an agreement in place for Mengi to return to Pride Park, although any move is yet to materialise. Rooney has spoken in the past about keeping in contact with United and should the 19-year-old be made available for loan, Derby seems like a realistic destination. Mengi can only improve at Derby, and, as James Garner’s loan spell with Nottingham Forest showed, the Championship is an excellent place to develop. 

Anthony Elanga

For Anthony Elanga to leave Manchester United on loan, a deal would have to move along very quickly. As of right now, no rumours are linking the Swede away from the club, with just days remaining of the transfer window. Even though there is little evidence suggesting a move away for Elanga, it is arguably the right thing for him to do this season.

Elanga scored his first Premier League goal last season, against Wolves at Molineux. He scored a powerful header, making a good run into the Wolves penalty area to meet Daniel James’ whipped cross. Aside from his goal against Wolves, Elanga has made a good account of himself in other appearances for the first team, and he has flourished for the under-23s. Unfortunately, he suffered a collarbone injury last season, meaning he missed serval weeks of football. However, the youngster certainly took his opportunities when he returned to full fitness, and he looked back to his lethal best soon enough, as he showed at Molineux.

Elanga was also impressive in pre-season. He scored one away to Queen’s Park Rangers, in a game where he could’ve easily had a hattrick. The Swede also got on the scoresheet at Old Trafford against Brentford, scoring a sublime volley set up by Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The right-back’s cross was slightly behind Elanga, but the youngster adjusted his body well and got an excellent shot off, striking the ball into the right-hand corner on the turn. An injury also ended his preseason early, and Elanga is yet to feature for the first team or the under-23s this season.

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On paper, there are certainly some suitable destinations for Elanga, should he decide to leave United on loan. With his versatility to play as both a winger and a striker, he could be very valuable for many clubs at different levels.

One league Elanga could look to is La Liga. We have already seen Pellistri sign for Alaves, so it is clear that United are willing to send players to Spain, should it be a suitable desination for the player in question. Elanga’s electric pace and clinical finishing would suit many clubs who often need a player to provide a spark and be the difference to earning Champions League football; in the last four La Liga seasons, there has been at least a 10 point gap between fourth place and fifth place. A player like Elanga could genuinely be the difference-maker for a side that wants to accomodate his talent. 

However, a more realistic option for the Swede is to stay in England. Whilst there would no doubt be a host of Premier League clubs interested in signing Elanga, being a starter for a side in England’s top division would not necessarily be guaranteed. This is something that could mean United reconsider loaning him to a Premier League club, as there isn’t much point in loaning out a player who will get limited game time. 

If Elanga wants to be a regular starter, the best option may be to look to the Championship. United have already loaned Tahith Chong to Birmingham City, where the winger has so far flourished. Elanga could follow the Dutchman’s lead, and a viable destination in the Championship could be Bournemouth. The Cherries are in the market for a new winger, after selling one of the league’s best players from last season, Arnaut Danjuma Groeneveld, to Villarreal. Bournemouth now looks light in the left-wing position, despite bringing in Manchester City youngster Morgan Rogers. If Elanga was to leave United on loan, a move to the South coast is a genuine option, knowing he would get regular game time in a side vying for promotion. It would pose a great challenge for United’s number 36. 

Regardless of if Elanga does go on loan, United have, without doubt, a potentially phenomenal player. The youngster has the potential to become a stand out player for United in the future, and a loan move can surely only help with his development.

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