Manchester United left-back Cameron Borthwick-Jackson could be heading to West Ham United on loan. The Sun and the Daily Mail both report that Slaven Bilic’s side, who will be without left-back Aaron Cresswell, ruled out for four months with a knee injury, and with Stephen Hendrie away from the club on loan Borthwick-Jackson will be looked upon as a player that could fill the void, albeit temporarily. Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is keen to see the 19-year-old develop his skills away from Old Trafford, but would need assurances that he would play if loaned to the Premier League club. With Cresswell out until at least November, Borthwick-Jackson could start the season under Bilic, and fight for his place for the remainder of the season, or a loan spell could be arranged for the first half of the season, with him returning to the Old Trafford club during the January transfer window, able to find another club to play for during the remainder of the season or fight for his place at United.
Last season, Borthwick-Jackson was promoted to the first team after Luke Shaw suffered a double leg fracture, keeping him out for the remainder of the season. The then 18-year-old made his debut in the 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion, replacing Marcos Rojo in the 76th minute of the match. 14 appearances were made by the end of the season, even replacing an injured Ashley Young at the end of the first half at Anfield, a match United won 1-0, looking unfazed by the occasion. Borthwick-Jackson did well to rise from U18 and U21 football, into the first team. It looked as though United had found their cover for Shaw, with Rojo not looking all that solid and Daley Blind already partnering Chris Smalling in the centre of defence. The 19-year-old may be upset that he will not be involved in Mourinho’s squad this season, but with him signing a new contract after Mourinho took over at the club, a contract which could keep him at Old Trafford until 2021, should the extra year be added, it is clear to say he is a player Mourinho is wanting to keep, for the time being anyway. Speaking after signing his new contract, Borthwick-Jackson said:
“I have grown up at United and have enjoyed every minute of being here. Last season was an incredible experience to make my first team debut and a dream come true for myself and my family. I feel it stands me in good stead for continuing my development as a Manchester United player. I will continue to work hard and take advice from the manager and his coaching team to improve with every training session.”
Many may feel that strengthening a Premier League rival may not be the best option, but United would be strengthening them against other teams, not United as Borthwick-Jackson would not be eligible to play against his parent club. United do not face West Ham United until the 27th November 2016, a match which could yet be changed due to possibly being on television. Having Borthwick-Jackson strengthen West Ham at the early stage of the season, with the Hammers facing Chelsea and Manchester City during the early stages of the season, with Tottenham Hotspur in November, the week before they face United, it could help United on their way to return to the summit of the Premier League this season, providing they get the results themselves. Borthwick-Jackson would get some important first-team football, in the Premier League, playing in an attacking West Ham side which features Dimitri Payet, Andy Carroll, Enner Valencia, Sofiane Feghouli and Manual Lanzini, among others, it could be a massive benefit for the rest of his career.
Obviously, West Ham may be looking into other options and may not loan Borthwick-Jackson, but the fact he has been considered should suggest he is a talent that clubs would like to have in their squads. I think he has proven that Premier League football is something he could thrive in, and for that reason letting him spend a period on loan at a Premier League club, whether West Ham or another, would be a good option for him. His Manchester United career is not over, just on hiatus for him to gain more experience, which he would not get at the Old Trafford club this season unless Luke Shaw became injured again. In which case, United might be able to add a recall option should injury hit, or he not feature as much as United would like as in many loan moves, players have been left on the bench or not selected for matchday squads at all, which will not be of any benefit to any player.