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Deadline Day Dilemma: Was loaning Timothy Fosu-Mensah the right decision for both club and player?

With only minutes to go on Transfer Deadline Day, it was announced that Timothy Fosu-Mensah was to go on loan to newly promoted Premier League side Fulham for the entirety of this season. This was the only deal completed concerning Manchester United on a very disappointing Deadline Day for the red half of Manchester. However, the decision to loan the 20-year-old has somewhat split the fan base with some arguing it’s an encouraging move for the Dutch international whilst others are bemused as to why Jose Mourinho was happy to let the player go.

In Fosu-Mensah’s last loan spell he impressed many with some excellent performances for Premier League side Crystal Palace. In particular, the young defender caught the eye of many after his professional and mature performance against eventual league champions Manchester City where he marked promising young German winger Leroy Sane out of the game in a 1-1 draw. He showed great form and many United fans thought they had seen enough for Fosu-Mensah to warrant a place in the regular first team squad for the next season with vital premier league experience under his belt.

In United’s pre-season tour Fosu-Mensah was one of the shining lights in a month which provided fans with very little to shout about. He looked at ease playing alongside some of Mourinho’s most experienced defenders against the likes of European powerhouses Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, and Liverpool. United fans were happy that they were seeing what Fosu-Mensah could do when he had a consistent run of games and there were not disappointed with his performances. The Dutchman along with Andres Pereira who has also risen in many fan’s estimations after the form he was showing in pre-season were identified as two players who deserved the opportunity to play Premier League football this season, but the manager didn’t seem to think in the same way.

Currently, United have a lack of quality fullback options with Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young being labelled as the favourites to start the majority of games this season in the positions. Furthermore the failure to bring in Alex Sandro in favour of Diogo Dalot has left the reds in a dangerous position regarding squad depth in these areas as an injury to Valencia would see a call-up for Matteo Darmian who looks like he may be leaving Old Trafford for the Serie A. Fosu-Mensah would have given Mourinho a solid fullback option who is hungry to show him what he can do. The 20-year-old already has experience playing for United as a fullback option making 12 appearances in the Premier League with the Reds winning nine of those games.

However, a loan deal may benefit Fosu-Mensah greatly as it has for other United success stories. The vital pitch time he will receive under the management of Slaviša Jokanović will help him to develop his ability whilst becoming more confident with the physicality and fast tempo of the Premier League. In addition, he will benefit from the strength of the squad which has been bolstered after the club spent over £100 million in the transfer window. It will create an environment for healthy competition for places which he will have to get used to if he wants to make it at Manchester United.

Loan moves have proven to go either way in terms of success with some returning to their parent clubs as a better, more developed player than when they left and others returning with a chip on their shoulder not hungry to perform. However, the hardworking nature of Fosu-Mensah will mean he will do everything in his power to get the most out of this experience and see it as another step on his journey in becoming an established defender for one of the biggest clubs in the world.

Written by Ciaran Coyle

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