Manchester United could send one of their academy prospects down a familiar path to continue his development in the Championship, according to reports.
James Garner has been with Man Utd since under-8s level. His senior debut came in February 2019, a couple of weeks before his 18th birthday. Since then, he has played for their first team on six more occasions. None of those appearances came last season, because he was out on loan.
Garner started the 2020-21 campaign in the Championship with Watford. Despite making 21 appearances there, United deemed it better for him to develop elsewhere after he began to fade from the first-team picture under Xisco. Thus, they interrupted his loan in January and sent him to Nottingham Forest instead.
His spell at the City Ground was positive, with four goals coming from 20 appearances. Therefore, United will be keen for him to continue his momentum next season.
He is still not ready for their own first team, so another loan spell would serve him well. To that end, according to The Sun, Forest would like to take him back again.
However, fellow Championship side Sheffield United are also interested in his services following their relegation from the Premier League.
The Blades have a good relationship with Man Utd, who lent them Dean Henderson for two seasons between 2018 and 2020. Now, the England goalkeeper is an important player back at Old Trafford.
Therefore, midfielder Garner could follow a similar path to Bramall Lane and back again. The South Yorkshire side are prepared to pay for the loan deal.
New Blades boss Slavisa Jokanovic eyes a big role for Garner – particularly if Sander Berge leaves – as they aim for an instant return to the top flight.
Thus, Man Utd will have to weigh up carefully which would be the best option for their young talent, who is under contract for another crucial year of his development.
Man Utd midfielder in future demand
Another Man Utd midfielder who spent last season out on loan is Andreas Pereira, who is more experienced than Garner and is therefore at an even more critical juncture in his career.
The 26-year-old Brazil international recently spoke about his future, claiming both he and the club are on the same page.
Pereira told TNT Sports: “I’m ready to play, I’m not a boy anymore. I’m a man ready to take responsibility.
“I’m sure that with playing time and continuity as a starter in my position, I can show what I’ve done at the academy, I can score more goals and make assists. A player of my position needs the confidence to play and the freedom to dare on the field.
“In Manchester or elsewhere, the time has come to play, to have at least an hour per game on the field, to have the confidence to play. I want to be happy, to feel important.
“We are focused on looking for the best for my career. That’s what my staff thinks. And I know United want the same.”