Wayne Rooney set to miss out on Man Utd youngster to league rivals

Manchester United's Teden Mengi battles for the ball during the UEFA Youth League

Wayne Rooney’s Derby County are unlikely to sign Manchester United defender Teden Mengi this January, with Birmingham City closing in.

Mengi, 19, has been identified by Man United as one of the young players permitted to leave on loan this January. The English youngster is admired by Rooney, and it is believed the boss was looking to bring him in until the end of the season. However, talks have now begun for a deal which would see Mengi join Championship rivals Birmingham City.

Mengi enjoyed a brief loan spell with The Rams last season, appearing 9 times for the club after joining in February 2021.

However, the move was cut short after the centre back suffered an injury in April that year.

Rooney was also reportedly interested in signing Mengi during the summer, however Derby’s transfer embargo prevented any deal from materialising.

Now, he looks set to miss out again with Birmingham City favourites to land the highly-rated defender.

Mengi has managed just one senior appearance this season. He appeared as a substitute against BSC Young Boys during the Champions League group stages.

Despite the lack of first-team action, he has thoroughly impressed with the Under-23 side this campaign.

With Blues the likely destination for the remainder of the season, Manchester Evening News reported that club sources insist all talks are still in the preliminary stages.

Birmingham boss Lee Bowyer is likely to want Mengi to replace Dion Sandersen, who has been recalled by parent club Wolves.

Boss offers Man Utd loanee injury update

Mengi would be the second Man United loanee already at Birmingham this season.

Tahith Chong was enjoying a successful loan spell for Blues, before suffering from an injury in training.

Chong, 21, was a star performer at the start of this season in the Championship.

However, the Dutchman has been sidelined since the start of November.

Despite this, Bowyer was encouraged by the youngsters rehabilitation progress, and offered a promising update.

He said: “He’s ahead of schedule. I don’t want to put a date on it but he’s ahead of schedule. Quite a bit ahead.”

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