Manchester United defender-cum-midfielder Timothy Fosu Mensah has agreed in principle a new long-term contract with the Old Trafford club, according to the Daily Mail. Jose Mourinho, although not having the 18-year-old in his plans this coming season, was keen to extend the player’s contract at the Theatre of Dreams, which in itself suggests he is a player in the manager’s long-term plans. The report says that the club will make an official statement in the coming days, which will confirm that the player will remain at the club past the expiry of his current contract – the 30th June 2017. Last season, Louis van Gaal have Fosu-Mensah a chance in the first team, albeit as a right-back. The Netherlands youth international did well considering his age and against Tottenham Hotspur, he did well before coming off with an injury – from there United conceded three quick goals, losing the match.
His ten first team appearances started in February when he replaced Marcos Rojo in the victory over Arsenal, a match which Marcus Rashford took the headlines. He also played in the 2-1 victory over Everton in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final but was unlucky to give away a penalty, despite winning the ball – only for Romelu Lukaku to miss his shot on goal – which was not his first, or his last that day. Everton equalised with 15 minutes remaining through a Chris Smalling own goal, but it was Anthony Martial on the day who rescued United, scoring a Fergie time goal in the dying seconds of the match, deep in injury time.
This summer, Fosu-Mensah was given a new squad number – 24. He wore the number 51 last season, which suggested Mourinho had high hopes for the player, with many moaning that he was not going to be given a chance and would be another youth player to leave the club and show them up in the future. How people moan from so little information. Even the newspaper reports at the time said Fosu-Mensah was not in the managers plans this coming season, it did not say he was not in his plans at all. Despite the fact he has taken to playing for Manchester United like a duck to water, there is still a lot to learn for Fosu-Mensah, the reason why he was not in the managers plans this season, but could still feature if needed to.
Fosu-Mensah is strong, tall and pretty quick, which made him look good in the right-back role. He can play as a central defender, and also a defensive midfielder, so there are many options for him in the future. With Mourinho seeing Antonio Valencia as the main right-back this season, for his physicality, his strength on the ball and his newfound ability to pack a cross into the box, finding its man, Fosu-Mensah could well be seen as the guy to replace the 31-year-old, who will be out of contract next summer, but does have the option of a further year. That is if Fosu-Mensah wants to play in that role, he may opt for the centre of defence or in midfield, where he would be equally as good.
Many seem to have had the impression that Jose Mourinho does not look at youth to solve a problem. Since his arrival, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Marcus Rashford signing new contracts almost as soon as the manager assumed his role now Fosu-Mensah and other young players such as Axel Tuanzebe given a chance to impress and doing just that – making the manager see the potential he has at the Old Trafford club. Manchester United’s squad this season is now looking good, it has the perfect balance of youth and experience, which will do wonders. The manager seems to know what he is doing and where he wants to get the team, which is a good sign, but the one thing he cannot do is predict what will happen, how it will work etc. Only aim to solve the problems as soon as they are spotted. Having Fosu-Mensah at the club for the next few years will only strengthen the side even more.