Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Five loan players that could be in the Manchester United first team next season: Amad, Henderson…

Hannibal Mejbri, Amad Diallo and Dean Henderson. TEAMtalk montage.

While Manchester United will be looking to sign new players in the summer, they’ll also have some talented players returning from loan spells. 

Erik ten Hag allowed 19 players to leave United on temporary deals during the 2022/23 season and will have been keeping an eye on their progress.

While some of those players failed to make much of an impact during their loan spells, others grasped the opportunity with both hands.

We’ve taken a look at five loanees that could potentially return to Old Trafford and play for the first team next season.

Dean Henderson

While David de Gea is set to sign a new contract at Old Trafford, he has found himself under the spotlight in recent weeks after making some high-profile mistakes.

United have been linked with Brentford’s David Raya, Porto’s Diogo Costa and Inter’s Andre Onana but their hunt for a new goalkeeper is reportedly being hampered by uncertainty over the proposed sale of the club.

That could open the door for Henderson, who joined Nottingham Forest on loan last summer after growing frustrated over his lack of playing time at United.

He’s since kept six clean sheets in 18 Premier League appearances and has produced some impressive individual displays for the relegation-threatened side.

The 26-year-old has also showcased his penalty expertise in 2022/23, saving spot-kicks from Declan Rice, Harry Kane, Wilfried Zaha, Ruben Neves and Joe Hodge.

“His levels are fantastic, we are following really strictly his performances and we are happy with the level he is showing,” Ten Hag said in December.

Unfortunately for the goalkeeper, he has spent the last four months on the sidelines after picking up a thigh injury but is expected to be fit for the start of pre-season training.

Amid reports that De Gea has been given no assurances that he will continue as the club’s No.1, Henderson could usurp the Spain international if he impresses Ten Hag in the summer.

Amad Diallo

After enduring a frustrating spell at Rangers in the second half of 2021/22, Amad dropped down to the Championship and joined Sunderland on a season-long loan deal.

He has since blossomed into one of the most exciting players in the Championship, registering 13 goals and three assists in 37 appearances in the competition.

The 20-year-old helped Sunderland qualify for the playoffs, and he was rewarded for his form with their Young Player of the Year award.

While Tony Mowbray’s side are unsurprisingly keen on extending his stay in the North East, Amad sees his future firmly in Manchester.

“I was so happy to sign for Manchester United: it’s a club with a massive history, famous all around the world,” he told FourFourTwo.

“I haven’t shown my best for them yet, but I hope next season I can return and prove my talent. My dream is to play regular football at Manchester United.”

According to The Daily Telegraph, Ten Hag wants to take a closer look at him in pre-season before deciding what comes next.

But Antony and Jadon Sancho have both flattered to deceive at times this season and Amad, who joined United in a deal worth a reported £37m in January 2021, will now be hoping to make the right-wing spot his own.

Alvaro Fernandez

Fernandez spent two years in United’s academy before making a temporary switch to Preston North End last summer in order to get his first taste of first-team football.

The left-back quickly established himself as a key part of Ryan Lowe’s side, making 27 starts in the Championship and a total of 42 appearances across all competitions.

He helped the team keep 12 clean sheets and also provided six assists, showing an ability to provide an attacking outlet at one end of the field while still performing his defensive duties at the other end.

Having won United’s Reserve Team Player of the Year award in 2021/22, Fernandez can now add more silverware to his trophy cabinet as he picked up Preston’s Young Player of the Year award in 2022/23.

“I think I will go to speak with them [United] in one or two weeks,” the 20-year-old recently told LancsLive when asked about his future.

“They will say that I need to come back in pre-season, to Manchester United – then we will speak again, after training, to see what happens and what they want. The world is crazy. You never know in football. Erik ten Hag, he has to choose!”

Fernandez would have to compete with Tyrell Malacia and Luke Shaw if he remains at Old Trafford but the latter has had to fill in at centre-back on several occasions this season and a spot might open up for the Spaniard.

Hannibal Mejbri

Midfield is an area United need to address in the summer as Scott McTominay has been linked with a move away while Casemiro, Fred and Christian Eriksen are all in their thirties.

Mejbri is regarded as one of United’s most exciting prospects, and he could provide their midfield with a fresh injection of youth and enthusiasm.

The 20-year-old picked up some valuable first-team experience at Birmingham City in 2022/23 and tried to stake a claim for a first-team role at Old Trafford.

He registered one goal and six assists in 41 appearances and his solitary strike – a fine free-kick against West Bromwich Albion – ended up being Birmingham’s goal of the season.

The 22-time Tunisia international also became a fan favourite at St Andrew’s due to his all-action and committed midfield displays.

Charlie Savage

Charlie Savage, son of former player Robbie, was one of the stars of United’s pre-season tour last year and will now be hoping to force his way into Ten Hag’s plans after getting some first-team football under his belt.

The defensive midfielder spent the second half of this season on loan at Forest Green Rovers, where he scored one goal in 15 League One appearances and won a Player of the Month award.

While he couldn’t prevent their relegation to League Two, the Wales Under-21 international earned plenty of plaudits and admirers during his time in Gloucestershire.

“He’s been fantastic for me,” Rovers manager Duncan Ferguson told talkSPORT in March. “On Sunday [against Sheffield Wednesday], he covered more than 12 kilometres. He was wearing the vest that tracks his distance. That’s incredible.

“He’s 19 years old, what an engine he’s got. And he’s a good player.”

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