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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

Timothy Fosu-Mensah wants to impress now, not be told his time is coming – his time is now…

Manchester United Academy graduate Timothy Fosu-Mensah may have to prove himself to manager Jose Mourinho this summer in order to take up a position in the first team squad ahead of the new season. The Dutchman was loaned to Premier League side Crystal Palace last season, showing his abilities despite a number of management changes in the team. The 20-year-old impressed during his spell on loan in London, being praised by teammates, coaches and an opposition player, namely Leroy Sane of Manchester City.

Ahead of the new season, with Antonio Valencia occupying the right-back role at United and the fact Diogo Dalot has been brought to the club as the first summer signing, seemingly having a future playing in that position, Fosu-Mensah may feel that his time at United may need to be thought through. However, the player came through the club’s Academy in a number of positions, able to play as a central defender, also a central midfielder.

The young Dutch international, speaking to Netherlands radio station, FunX, reported by football.london, spoke about what he wants from his future at the club. Fosu-Mensah insisted that he does not want to be seen as that young player who is working to gain his opportunity. Seemingly, the player feels that his opportunity has arisen now and he wants to prove himself to his manager, the coaches, and his teammates. Jose Mourinho could well give the player his chance to shine during the clubs pre-season tour of the United States of America and Germany, ahead of the new season.

“I do not want to hear that I am young and that my time is still coming. I want to reach the top as quickly as possible, that’s me. The top is World Cup, European Championship, Champions League final, which is the top for me, winning prizes.”

Fosu-Mensah has the qualities to succeed at United, which is obviously what he wants to do. He just needs the opportunity to do so, which could well be coming for him. The 20-year-old has always been a player I have kept my eye on over the last few years and to see him playing at United would be great. Perhaps Mourinho does not need to buy a midfielder to replace Marouane Fellaini, seemingly having both the Dutchman and Andreas Pereira, who could both boost United’s midfield ahead of the new season.

There is one problem with this though. Patience. United’s modern-day supporters do not see to have this attribute, seemingly hunting for immediate success, and if that does not come, it is a vocal, albeit on social media, moaning session calling for the manager of the club to be sacked, which is pathetic, boring, and just not something football supporters should be doing. Sir Alex Ferguson brought a lot of success to United but these so-called supporters feel that same success is their right, which in fact, it is not a right at all.

“I was close to the Dutch national team when I was at United, but I did not play anymore. From August 2017 to May 2018 I was loaned to Crystal Palace, I think that was a good choice. I can also play for Oranje.”

United have some great players in their Academy, who could add something to the depth of the team in the coming season. Fosu-Mensah is one of those and many United supporters would love to see him and others succeed at the Old Trafford club in the next few years. However, patience will be needed as not everything works from the start, as we have seen over the past five years. Mourinho has the support of the club’s board and a large section of the supporters. Getting behind the manager and the team could help a lot, especially if it stops the ‘toxic’ social media fan base.

What does the signing of Diogo Dalot mean for Timothy Fosu-Mensah?

Last week Manchester United confirmed the signing of 19-year old full back Diogo Dalot from FC Porto. Though he has shown he can play on either flank, right-back is his more natural position. Given Timothy Fosu-Mensah was deployed at right-back for the majority of his season-long loan to Crystal Palace, does the signing potentially hinder the progression of one of United’s brightest young prospects?

It does not have to by any means. Fosu-Mensah occasionally stepped in at centre-back for the Eagles, especially in the early stages of the season. Though it’s not his natural position, he would still provide Jose Mourinho with cover if needs be. Whilst Dalot may have been touted by some as Antonio Valencia’s natural successor, at just 19 he will likely require some time to adapt to English conditions, both off the pitch and on. Consequently, Mourinho may rotate the two as he seeks to rest an ageing Valencia and blood United’s right-back for the future.

Another position which Fosu-Mensah could fill in is holding midfield. Whilst his passing ability is still developing, his natural pace and strong tackling ability give him the attributes to be a successor for Nemanja Matic behind two more creative midfielders.

It is, however, conceivable that Mourinho may send Fosu-Mensah on loan again this window in order to give him another season where he could either consolidate what he learnt at Palace or mould him into a defensive midfielder with greater composure and decision-making when on the ball. If he is able to develop such attributes quickly, a hypothetical loan move could be ended prematurely in order to bring the Dutchman back to United and slowly draft him into the matchday squad.

Although Dalot also can play at left-back, Fosu-Mensah’s versatility may be an incentive for Mourinho to keep both at the club (as long as they are happy to have rotational roles) and give each other healthy competition looking forward. In addition, Fosu-Mensah is yet to be given a consistent run of games in the United XI, with a very quick fast-track from the Under-18s to the matchday squad, missing the step most make to Reserve level.

Before Dalot was signed, reports appeared to insinuate that Mourinho was more than satisfied with Fosu-Mensah’s performances at Palace, and would gradually shape him into the squad. However, his future now seems more uncertain. Dalot certainly appears to offer more going forward than the Dutchman, so it may be best for him to try and permanently cement a single position. If he does this, he can work on the areas of his game that are weak, such as his tactical immaturity in defence.

If he continues to be a ‘squad player’ in various positions, Mourinho may only keep him on as a rotational option for cup games, whilst Dalot may not be given the competition at full-back which would otherwise propel both players to a higher level and could only serve to benefit the club in the long-term.

Mourinho needs to have a lengthy discussion with the 20-year old and make it clear that there are places available if he can pin down a single role and work on it. Ultimately, whether he decides the best place to do that is at the club as a rotational player, or out on loan, is his decision.

Written by Rob Potter

Why Timothy Fosu-Mensah can be an important player for Manchester United next season

Beginning his carer at Ajax, Timothy Fosu-Mensah first caught the attention of Manchester United while playing as a centre back in the AEGON Future Cup. Joining the club in the summer of 2014 at the age of 16, Fosu-Mensah’s athleticism and natural ability soon earned him a place in the U18’S, where he went on to make 18 appearances in the 2014-15 season. After putting in some good performances for the U18’s, Fosu-Mensah was promoted to the U21’s squad for the beginning of the 2015-16 season.

With the then 17-year-old showing great versatility and playing in a number of different positions, playing as a right-back, a centre-back and in the midfield. Putting in a string of good performances, particularly at right back. It was not long before these good performances caught the attention of the then manager Louis van Gaal, with the young Dutchmen soon being rewarded with a first team debut in the February of that season, as an injury-stricken United took on Arsenal at Old Trafford.

Coming on as a substitute for the injured Marcos Rojo around the 50-minute mark, Fosu-Mensah put in a composed performance and in a game of high magnitude played like an experienced professional. On the back of this performance, Fosu-Mensah earned himself a place with the first team squad for the remainder of the campaign going to make a further 10 appearances.

Fosu-Mensah very much kept his place within the first team set up, after the arrival of Jose Mourinho at the start of last season. Despite putting in some impressive performances, Fosu-Mensah struggled to hold down a regular position and was limited to only four starts and seven substitute appearances for the club.

In order to get more first team minutes, Fosu-Mensah was sent out on loan to fellow Premier League side Crystal Palace at the start of the current season. Playing as either a right-back or as a right-sided centre-back, Fosu-Mensah has made 24 appearances for Palace this term, helping the Eagles secure a mid-table finish, and put in big performances against the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City. In 21 Premier League appearances, he has an average pass accuracy of 74%, and averages five defensive actions per game, winning 49% of tackles.

Fosu-Mensah has had to fight hard to keep his place in the team this season, with a change in management and with Palace battling relegation. Yet this experience will have been invaluable for the 20-year-old, helping him improve his technical ability, by playing week-in-week-out and also by allowing him the chance to grow mentally, having to deal with setbacks and the looming pressure of potential relegation.

With Fosu-Mensah set to return to United ahead of their pre-season tour of the United States of America this summer, the young Dutchman will have the opportunity while many of his teammates are on World Cup duty to stake a claim for more first team minutes next season.

Getting some regular first team football under his belt, after what can be described as a relatively successful loan spell at Crystal Palace there is no reason why such a talented and versatile player like Fosu-Mensah can’t play an important role for United next season.

With Mourinho hinting that he would like to see both Antonia Valencia and Ashley Young keep their place as first choice fullbacks next term and with both Daley Blind and Matteo Darmian likely to leave this summer. A player with the ability of Fosu-Mensah would be a perfect option for Mourinho to have in the squad.

Plus, with Valencia starting to enter the twilight stages of his carer at the club, Fosu-Mensah could be the perfect replacement for the Ecuadorian and be the club’s next long-term right back.

If Mourinho can invest his time and his trust in to Fosu-Mensah, then there is no reason why the Dutchman can’t blossom in to a true Manchester United star and be an important part of the squad, not only next season but for many seasons to come.

Written by Jamie Mackinlay

Can Timothy Fosu-Mensah become the heir to Antonio Valencia…

The 2017/18 Premier League season is reaching its climax, and if you were to make a shortlist of players to win the Player of The Year award for Manchester United, Antonio Valencia would be a decent shout. He has been one of the few players who are always the first name on the team sheet, alongside David De Gea, Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku this season, and rightly so.

Valencia has had a very good season defensively and has scored a couple of screamers to boot. Nonetheless, it is time to look ahead, not only due to Valencia’s age (he turns 33 in August this year), but also due to a fatal weakness in his game, his inability to vary his crosses.

This has greatly hurt United, adding to the fact that Young plays on the other side of the defence, and a first-time cross behind the opposition’s back line has not been seen since Luke Shaw last bombed forward in Louis van Gaal’s first season prior to his injury.

Many a time this season, when Valencia has found himself one-v-one with the opposition’s fullback, he has either opted to pass back to the right-winger, or pass square to the oncoming midfielder in front of the box; on the rare occasion, he knocks it past the player and smashes a low, hard cross.

None of this plays to the strengths of United’s marquee summer signing, Romelu Lukaku, who thrives on crosses into the box, leaving him a disgruntled figure in the middle of the box, having to bring himself back from an offside position.

United need to solve this issue this summer and may not have to look further than one of their own, in Timothy Fosu-Mensah, on loan at Crystal Palace.

Fosu-Mensah is having a very successful loan spell at Crystal Palace, who made a nightmare start to the season, now finding themselves just above the drop zone. He lost his place in the first team after Frank De Boer was sacked but has clawed his way back in under Roy Hodgson.

He has predominantly played as a right back, and in almost equal part, as a right-sided centre-back in a three-man defence. What Fosu-Mensah has in common with Valencia, is his physique. He is very quick and strong and is only 20, yet to fill out his frame.

Fosu-Mensah is a very good tackler of the ball, having won 49% of all his tackles, as compared to Valencia’s 32%. But it can also play against him at times, leading him into unnecessary challenges, but it is interesting to note that he has five fewer yellow cards than Valencia this season, while having played six fewer matches. Infer what you will.

Fosu-Mensah also has a very good passing range and has consistently found Palace’s target man, Christian Benteke, with a long ball from deep in defence.

Fosu-Mensah’s biggest weapon, though, is his age. Having begun his career as a defensive midfielder who can also play at right-back, he is slowly finding himself attuned to that role, and may well find his future at United at that spot.

Does he solve all of United’s problems? No, he does not. But what he does do, is provide United with a solid option, somebody who can replace Valencia, and possibly, be more.

At his age, it is not impossible to inculcate things which are not part of your game at the moment, and under the right mentorship and given the chances and the trust of the manager, Fosu-Mensah could prove to be an invaluable addition to United’s squad next season.

Written by Dheeraj Santhosh

Loan Watch: Fosu-Mensah unlucky to see his side lose to Liverpool; Henderson in high spirits after victory

Manchester United have six players currently out on loan with one in the Premier League, two in the Championship, and three in League One. United’s loanee’s this season are Timothy Fosu-Mensah who has been loaned to Crystal Palace, Sam Johnstone at Aston Villa, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson at Leeds United, Devonte Redmond at Scunthorpe United, Dean Henderson at Shrewsbury Town, and Regan Poole at Northampton Town. Here is how I feel each player has fared this week:

Timothy Fosu-Mensah

The Manchester United defender played 90 minutes in the 1-0 defeat to Liverpool in the Premier League at Anfield. Sadio Mane’s goal in the 73rd minute was the difference between the two sides. Crystal Palace may see the start of their season as a negative, beaten by Huddersfield Town last weekend and beaten again, conceding fewer goals, but by a better team. Saying that though, United supporters will not care about results, it is the experience the player gets from his loan spell which really matters. Winning, losing, drawing is all part of football and to be a winner, not only have you got to experience losing, but you have to gain experience, which is what Timothy Fosu-Mensah is starting to get. Two matches into his loan spell, 168 minutes of action. The Dutchman has 64% of his passes reaching a teammate, which is not great but a good starting point. He made two take ons, winning both, won 67% of his tackles, made five interceptions, four clearances and committed one foul.

Sam Johnstone

Sam Johnstone played 90 minutes in the 4-2 victory over Norwich City in the Sky Bet Championship at Villa Park on Saturday. Villa took the lead through Conor Hourihane in the 22nd minute with the player scoring a hat-trick in the victory. Andre Green scored the other goal in the match. Norwich got one goal back, at 2-1 in the 60th minute, getting another (4-2) in the 79th minute of the match. Johnstone did not have the best of matches, only making one save, his distribution being rather terrible (26%) and not really being the big guy between the sticks. Johnstone has not made his Manchester United debut yet, not competitively anyway and with the talent coming through at the club, Joel Pereira being the one of a similar age, Johnstone probably won’t make it at United, which is a shame but only one goalkeeper can play with one or two waiting in the wings. It will be much better to let the player find a career elsewhere. In the Championship, Johnstone has a lot of experience, which should help him for the years he has ahead of him.

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson was an unused substitute in the 2-0 victory over Sunderland in the Sky Bet Championship at the Stadium of Light on Saturday evening. Borthwick-Jackson has played a few timed for Leeds, so this could have been the match whereby he was not needed to start, kept on the bench should he be needed, therefore resting him for what could be a big week with the second round of the Carabao Cup coming up this week with Leeds facing Newport County at Elland Road followed by the Championship clash with Nottingham Forest at the County Ground in a week’s time.

Devonte Redmond

Devonte Redmond was an unused substitute in Scunthorpe United 1-0 victory over Oxford United in the Sky Bet League One clash at Glanford Park. Redmond is on his first loan spell away from United and cannot expect to come straight in and get minutes from day one. He needs to show the manager what he has in his locker and earn his place in the squad, whether a starter, a substitute or a player surplus to the team on a matchday. The experience on his first loan spell will do him good.

Dean Henderson

Dean Henderson played 90 minutes in the  3-2 victory over Rochdale in the Sky Bet League One at Greenhous Meadow on Saturday afternoon. Henderson went head-to-head with former Manchester United Academy player Oliver Rathbone, who now plays for Rochdale. In the first eight minutes of the match, Rathbone had two shots on goal, one save by Henderson (4′) and the other off target (8′). In the 16th minute, Aristote Nsiala gave away a penalty, which was converted by Rochdale’s Steve Davies, sending his shot into the top right corner of the net. On the half hour mark, Shaun Whalley won a penalty, levelling the score from the spot. Carlton Morris doubled Shrewsbury’s lead three minutes later. Davies levelled in for Rochdale in the 63rd minute after Nsiala gave away a second penalty, the third spot kick of the match beating Henderson t the bottom left corner of the net. Stefan Payne won the match for the home side in the 74th minute of the game. Henderson made a fair few saves during the match, playing well and showing signs of becoming a decent goalkeeper which may or may not happen at Manchester United.

Regan Poole

Regan Poole was an unused substitute in the 4-1 defeat to Charlton Athletic in the Sky Bet League One at The Valley on Saturday afternoon. The Welsh defender will no doubt get an opportunity at some point and with him being inexperienced, he cannot expect to be involved in every match this season. Of course, as this was the fourth match of the season the player has not had any minutes in, it could suggest it will be a long loan spell for the defender, who may need to work harder in training to get his chance. Northampton Town manager Justin Edinburgh knows what he can expect from the player having managed him at Newport County, but that does not mean he will be involved week in and week out.

Loan Watch: Timothy Fosu-Mensah makes Palace debut, puts in a great last-ditch tackle too

Manchester United have six players currently out on loan with one in the Premier League, two in the Championship, and three in League One. United’s loanee’s this season are Timothy Fosu-Mensah who has been loaned to Crystal Palace, Sam Johnstone at Aston Villa, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson at Leeds United, Devonte Redmond at Scunthorpe United, Dean Henderson at Shrewsbury Town, and Regan Poole at Northampton Town. This weekend marked the start of the new Premier League season with the Football League starting last weekend. Some of United’s players have played already this season, some are still yet to play. Some may not play at all, it depends on how their respective managers feel they are doing in training. Some players will have been sent out for the experience of fighting for a place in a first team environment, others have been loaned to continue their development, which would not be possible at a higher level at United this season.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah

The Dutch 19-year-old was confirmed as a Crystal Palace player over the last few days with manager Frank De Boer confirming that he would play as a right-sided central defender in the clubs new 3-4-3 formation and as a right back in a 4-3-3 formation. Again Huddersfield Town in the Premier League, Palace played 3-4-3 and it was not the start in the league the players and the manager would have hoped for. Palace were beaten 3-0 by the Premier League new boys, who at this moment in time sit at the top of the table. Fosu-Mensah started the match and played 78 minutes before being replaced by James Tomkins. The young Dutchman played well for his loan club, despite the defeat. In the 63rd minute of the match, he made a great last-ditch challenge on  Steve Mounie, who was through on goal, chasing him down, running on the inside of him and putting in a tackle to drive the ball wide, saving his side from going 3-0 down at the time. Just after Fosu-Mensah was replaced by Tomkins, Huddersfield Town scored their third goal. Palace did not play all that badly in the match and were unlucky in front of goal more than a few times.

Sam Johnstone

Sam Johnstone played 90 minutes for Aston Villa in their 3-0 defeat to Cardiff City. Villa did not play too well and Johnstone conceded goals in the 21st, 60th and 71st minutes of the match. Manager Steve Bruce will not be happy with the performance and will be looking for more from his players, including new captain, John Terry. Villa did play during the week in the Carabao Cup, beating Colchester United 2-1, of which Johnstone did not play a part in. Last weekend, the opening game of the Championship season, Villa drew 1-1 with former Premier League side Hull City. After two matches, Villa sits 21st in the table with a lot of work ahead of them if returning to the Premier League is going to be a possibility for them.

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson played 82 minutes in the 0-0 draw with Preston North End in the Championship. Borthwick-Jackson played as the left-back in the match, after making his debut playing as a left sided central defender in the Carabao Cup during the week. Leeds dominated Preston, had 12 shots on goal and should have perhaps done so much better than they did. Chris Wood could have scored the opening goal in the 67th minute of the match, of which the shot was assisted by Borthwick-Jackson with a cross. In the 72nd minute, Borthwick-Jackson committed a foul but was not booked. In the 82nd minute, Stuart Dallas replaced Borthwick-Jackson. It was not a good day for former United teammate Ben Pearson, who was sent off on the hour. Josh Harrop also came on in the 65th minute of the match but was unable to do anything for his side.

Devonte Redmond

Devonte Redmond was loaned to League One side Scunthorpe United during the summer. In the 1-1 draw away to Rochdale, Redmond was named on the bench but was not called upon during the match. Redmond has been involved in all match squads of the season so far, the opening League One match against Notts County, a 3-3 draw, and the 1-1 draw in the Carabao Cup during the week, which Scunthorpe United won 6-5 on penalties. Redmond will get some minutes this season. It is his first loan spell of his career and perhaps he needs to settle a bit more before making his debut. He must be doing something right to be involved in three matchday squads so far this season.

Dean Henderson

Dean Henderson played 90 minutes in the 1-0 victory over AFC Wimbledon in League One on Saturday. The United youngster did not have much to deal with as Wimbledon only had six shots on goal, two of those on target. It will be good to see the player develop in this tough league this season, the second season he has been involved in loan spells away from the club. Henderson has started all three matches of the season so far, the 1-0 victory over Northampton Town on the opening day of the season and the 2-1 defeat to Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup during the week.

Regan Poole

Regan Poole was loaned to Northampton Town during the summer, linking up with former Newport County manager Justin Edinburgh who gave him his chance at the Welsh club before he was sold to Manchester United. Poole was not involved in the 1-0 defeat to Fleetwood Town on Saturday but was an unused substitute in the 1-0 defeat to Shrewsbury United, of which teammate Dean Henderson has been loaned to and the 1-0 defeat to Queens Park Rangers in the Carabao Cup during the week. Edinburgh knows what type of defender Poole is and at some point this season, he should be given his chance. During the last season, Poole was not the best defensively for United’s U23’s, also eligible to play for the U18’s at a point, and clearly he has been sent to develop his skills, possibly United even seeking a club of offload the player at next summer, who knows.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah’s loan spell at Crystal Palace confirmed; player to play as a right central defender

Timothy Fosu-Mensah has been confirmed as a Crystal Palace player for the upcoming 2017/18 Premier League season. The player who spent the entire 2016/17 season in the Manchester United first team, making just 11 appearances in all competitions has a big future at the Old Trafford club. The Dutchman will link with former Ajax coach Frank De Boer at Palace as they look to increase their position in the Premier League, seemingly targeting a European place with the talent brought into the club this summer. Back in October, the player signed a new long-term contract with United, which would initially keep him at the club until the summer of 2020, although an additional year can be added to that contract.

It is expected that Fosu-Mensah will gain Premier League experience this coming season with him expected to be part of United’s first team in the 2018/19 season, which hopefully will see the player return in the summer of 2018 with a lot of experience under his belt, which will go a long way with him gaining confidence in a first team environment and establishing himself in the English top-flight. At the time Fosu-Mensah signed his recent contract at United, manager Jose Mourinho spoke to the official Manchester United website, saying:

“Tim is young player with great potential. I am pleased that he has signed a new contract and I am delighted at the progress he has made so far. It is clear to see that he is learning every day in training and there will be plenty of opportunities for him as the season continues.”

Fosu-Mensah, who tweeted that he loved Manchester United and that he will see the Red Devils soon (shown above), along with a short video after his loan spell was confirmed, also said:

“I am delighted to have signed a new contract here at Manchester United. I have enjoyed every minute since I joined this great club and I want to continue the progress that I feel I have made so far. I am learning every day from the manager and the coaching staff. I appreciate the trust that the club has in me and I want to repay that with my performances on the pitch.”

The 19-year-old will take the number 24 shirt at Palace this season, the same number he has worn for United during the past season and during pre-season. Fosu-Mensah can play in a number of positions, including right-back, central defender and central defensive midfielder, so he will offer a lot to his new side during the new season, which will be good for his development and one every United supporter will be watching closely. During his time at United, Fosu-Mensah has played 21 timess, ten times under Louis van Gaal, 11 under Mourinho and he could play most of the Premier League matches for Palace this season. Palace seems to have a great up and coming player in their squad, which will increase their potential this season. Speaking to the official Crystal Palace website about his loan move, Fosu-Mensah said:

“The manager spoke to me about coming down to join Crystal Palace and it was clear that he wanted me to be part of his squad which as a player gives you a great feeling straight away. I must now repay that back by putting in some good performances for the club.

“I am only 19 years old and still have a lot to learn and therefore getting the opportunity to play more games on a regular basis will help my development.”

Former Ajax coach and now Palace manager Frank De Boer spoke about Fosu-Mensah’s arrival at the club this summer. One thing that United supporters will be seeking is an answer on where the player will feature for him in the squad. The right-back position was the most obvious, but Palace have been trying out a formation similar to that of Chelsea’s 3-4-3 formation and the Dutchman confirmed that Fosu-Mensah will play as the right-sided central defender in that formation, playing as a right-back when the club reverts to 4-3-3. De Boer, speaking to the official Crystal Palace website, said:

“Timothy is a player who has great pace and incredible physical ability. In today’s game, you need players with strength and speed and is a player who can also play in midfield.

“I am seeing him in our system as a right centre-back but he can also play full back in a 4-3-3.”

The new Premier League season should be a good one for Fosu-Mensah as he needs to be playing football at a competitive level. The player is too good for the Premier League 2 playing with U23 players, and clearly will not be utilised much within the first team, which would stifle his development. The player will obviously not be able to face Manchester United this season, but could well feature in 36 matches, or even a majority of them dependant on fitness, which will be great for him. I am sure the player will also feature in the Carabao Cup and possibly the Emirates FA Cup if United have given him clearance to do so. Palace open their Premier League campaign at Selhurst Park against new boys Huddersfield Town at 15:00 BST on Saturday 12th August 2017. The second match of the season will be tough against Liverpool at Anfield on the 19th August at 15:00 BST, maybe a baptism of fire for the United player.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah a target for Frank de Boer’s Crystal Palace and Marco Silva’s Watford

Crystal Palace manager Frank de Boer wants to sign Manchester United defender come midfielder Timothy Fosu-Mensah on loan for the upcoming season. The Netherlands international has great potential but currently, he faces a fight to become involved in the team. He could well be the understudy for right-back Antonio Valencia this season, but he won’t get many minutes on the pitch if Valencia has anything to say about it. Fosu-Mensah can also play in defensive midfield, but with the arrival of Nemanja Matic to take the reliance off Michael Carrick, the Dutch player may find the same problem, not playing regularly, which at his age needs to happen to continue his development.

Last season, Fosu-Mensah did not play many minutes and for that to happen again could be costly for the player. Jose Mourinho rates the player, but in terms of experience, he has little which will see him being overlooked at times. The Sun have reported De Boer’s interest in Fosu-Mensah, a player he worked with at Ajax before he left for United. Palace are believed to be after Arsenal defender Calum Chambers in a £20 million swoop, but the Dutch manager is reluctant to sign off on the deal until he knows whether he can have Fosu-Mensah on loan for the new season.

Fosu-Mensah has already been linked to Watford this summer and his lack of appearances during the club’s pre-season tour of the United States of America, Norway and Ireland could suggest it will be another frustrating season for the player should he remain at United. Losing Fosu-Mensah would be a loss as he is a great young player with physicality in his game, but he will need to push through the glass ceiling at United in order to gain himself more ground and not playing regularly, he must not be doing what Mourinho wants. Of course, I do not know that for a fact, it is merely an opinion.

Fosu-Mensah can also play a central defensive role, of which may be called upon as United will be without Phil Jones, Daley Blind and Eric Bailly for the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid on Tuesday and the first UEFA Champions League match of the new season, which could see the Dutchman drafted in, if he has not been allowed to leave the club on loan. Playing two fixtures as opposed to playing a full season in top-flight first team football would be silly though. De Boer wants a right-sided defender to complete his 3-4-3 formation this summer with Chambers a target and Fosu-Mensah seemingly the preferred option.

Watford manager Marco Silva, a close friend of Jose Mourinho is after Fosu-Mensah, which looking at the friendship between the two managers, this would probably be the preferred option of Mourinho and United, which would also be great for the player as he would still play more matches than he would at United, so either will be a winner. I would like to see the player succeed at United, but if now is not the time, which seems likely based on what I have already mentioned, seeing him play a year at the top-level in England, then come back to United and show his worth may give the player more success.

Manchester United Player Season Review 2016/17: The Defence

Manchester United did not have the best of seasons during the 2016/17 campaign which commenced in high spirits with Jose Mourinho replacing Louis van Gaal as the manager, with the Portuguese former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager bringing in Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba as his four summer signings, Pogba being the current world record signing which could be eclipsed and even surpassed this summer if reports are to be believed. Mourinho had instilled the winning mentality into his new club just weeks after be became the manager, pushing for big changes from the start of the season. United started off by beating Leicester City to win the FA Community Shield, the first of many trophies under Mourinho, which turned out the be the case only in the first season.

United started well in the league, winning their first three matches, but a three-match losing streak then turned the season upside down, losing two Premier League matches and one in the UEFA Europa League. United found their feet again, but the ups and downs kept coming. Too many draws in the Premier League, most of them at home became a problem for United, which contributed in their sixth-placed finish, a first for the club who had finished seventh (David Moyes), fourth and fifth (Louis van Gaal) post-Sir Alex Ferguson. The season had a different feeling to it though, something was being built for the future, Mourinho was bringing United back to the helm just like Ferguson did in the 1990’s.

Of course, Rome was not built in a day, but things are changing. United ended the season with two more trophies; the EFL Cup, beating Southampton 3-2 at Wembley at the end of February and the UEFA Europa League, beating Ajax 2-0 in Sweden, more importantly earning a UEFA Champions League group stage place next season, the minimum requirement for Mourinho and his team. The season reviews have been written for the Premier League, EFL Cup, Emirates FA Cup, and the UEFA Europa League now it is the player’s turn to be reviewed and rated, moving onto the defenders.

Eric Bailly

The £30 million man who many did not know of when he arrived at Manchester United last summer. £30 million for an unknown many said. I remember the same criticisms when Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra rolled up at the Theatre of Dreams. The Ivorian was tipped to be one for the future by Jose Mourinho, but he turned into one for the now too. Bailly fits in at Manchester United like a hand into a glove. Did what was expected and showed the aggression needed to play at the back. Bailly has played in the right-back position too, but centrally he is much better. The arrival of Victor Lindelof this summer will be a big boost for Bailly, he will not have to be relied upon as much as he was during the past season, which is good for the player who will get some rest, but he will also form a partnership with the Swedish international, which could bode well for the club, securing the defence and pushing from the back, ensuring that late goals are not conceded, with United looking to turn their home draws into victories, which is important if the club wants to challenge in the Premier League next season, which will be a must.

Appearances: Premier League: 25, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 11, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 38

Goals: Premier League: 0, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 0

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 7, Red Cards: 2

Season Rating: 4/5

Phil Jones

This was the season Phil Jones was to return to his best, and at a point, it looked like he was getting there, then injury struck, again. Jones has been plagued with injury for almost all of his career at United, signing from Blackburn Rovers in 2011. Partnered with Marcos Rojo at a point over the last season, Jones was playing well, improving and impressing at times. There was still a long way to go, but at least he was heading in the right direction. Jones is the better option compared to Chris Smalling, in my opinion at least and if one was to leave this summer, I would give Jones another chance to show what he could do, making a decision at the end of the coming season. Mourinho likes Jones, injuries have been a problem, but this one saw those less serious. Jones has been at United for six years, Smalling seven, so allowing him the same amount of time could well prove to be a good decision. United need English players in the team and getting rid of both Jones and Smalling could well be a mistake.

Appearances: Premier League: 18, Emirates FA Cup: 2, EFL Cup: 3, UEFA Europa League: 3, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 26

Goals: Premier League: 0, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 0

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 3, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 2.5/5

Marcos Rojo

The Argentinian central defender was tipped to leave the Old Trafford club last summer, but he put his head down, concentrated on his football and became a resurgent player, partnering Phil Jones during part of the season, nicknamed RoJones, then forming a better partnership with Eric Bailly. Rojo earned his place on the team this season, and his place heading into next season. The fact he can play at left-back and in a more central role will be a big bonus. Victor Lindelof will add more competition for places, but with Rojo suffering a serious knee injury back in April, the fact that he probably will not play again in 2017 will see the Swedish international partner Bailly, forming a strong partnership, which will take a lot of work to break into for Rojo, but saying that it will give Mourinho another option at the back, as will Daley Blind. Rojo should remain at the Old Trafford club this summer, he is far too important to let go. Not that it is rumoured he will leave this summer, he can’t being that he is injured.

Appearances: Premier League: 21, Emirates FA Cup: 4, EFL Cup: 5, UEFA Europa League: 10, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 41

Goals: Premier League: 1, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 1

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 5, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 3.5/5

Chris Smalling

Chris Smalling is a player who could well be sold this summer, which is what many would like to see. Under Louis van Gaal, the England international played well, and at a time was considered the best central defender at the club. Fast forward a year, that is no longer the case. Eric Bailly has that crown now, with Marcos Rojo also performing well under Mourinho, pushing the almost always injured pairing of Smalling and Phil Jones onto the sidelines, a place they have spent a lot of time over the past six or seven seasons. Smalling played well in the UEFA Europa League final against Ajax, which should not be suggested that he ended his season well. His was poor the majority of the time, criticised but his manager for not playing through the pain barrier, returning just at the right time after Bailly was ruled out of the final because he was sent off in the semi-final second leg. Smalling is not the guy that could replace Rio Ferdinand or even Nemanja Vidic. The arrival of Victor Lindelof could show him the door, here’s hoping. I am thankful for what Smalling has done at the club, but post-Sir Alex Ferguson, he has been a player who is yet to rise and lead the team, I not sure he could lead the team.

Appearances: Premier League: 18, Emirates FA Cup: 4, EFL Cup: 4, UEFA Europa League: 10, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 36

Goals: Premier League: 1, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 2

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 0, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 2.5/5

Daley Blind

The Dutch international had a good second season at United, playing well as a central defensive player, rather than the left-back or even left-wing-back he had played in under Louis van Gaal. The player was paired with Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly during the season, partnering Bailly for the last few weeks of the season after Rojo suffered a severe knee injury, ruling him out for the rest of the season and probably the rest of 2017. Blind may not be the best at what he does but he has the eye needed to play football, able to read the game well and do what is needed most of the time. Blind should remain at the club this coming summer, as he is an option. With Mourinho signing Victor Lindelof, which should go through this coming week, Bailly will have a partner for much of United’s matches, but the pair will also be split up in times where United will need to rotate, which will be for much of the season with United back in the Champions League and fighting on three domestic fronts.

Appearances: Premier League: 24, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 3, UEFA Europa League: 11, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 40

Goals: Premier League: 1, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 1

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 4, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 3.5/5

Luke Shaw

Luke Shaw has not had a great time at Manchester United. His first season was plagued by injury and a lack of fitness stopping him from breaking into the team. After the dust settled, the new season came with Shaw putting in extra training to get ready, starting well. A double leg fracture ended his season just over a month in, which devastated the player. Shaw was ready to start his third season, this time under a new manager, Jose Mourinho. The supporters were raring for Shaw to have a good season, but that was not going to be the case. Injuries, lack of form and problems with his fitness and mentality plagued his season. Shaw eventually got his chance to make his manager happy, doing well but suffering a new injury, which saw him end the season on crutches, something which will also see him miss pre-season and quite possibly a chance to secure his place at left-back at the start of the new season, especially with the likes of Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Joe Riley and Demetri Mitchell waiting in the wings, which could add more disappointment to Shaw’s United career, but he is young and talented enough to persevere and break through, providing he can avoid injury, which has been the main thing he has suffered since signing for Manchester United.

Appearances: Premier League: 11, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 2, UEFA Europa League: 4, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 19

Goals: Premier League: 0, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 0

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 1, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 2.5/5

Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Timothy Fosu-Mensah really should have played more during the last season, making a total of eleven appearances across all competitions. I am not sure what his favoured position is, whether it be at right-back, playing second fiddle to Antonio Valencia, or as a defensive midfielder, possibly the replacement for Michael Carrick, who signed a new contract in the last few weeks. The Dutch international certainly has a good future ahead of him. I am sure United and Mourinho will have plans for the youngster, who did not play any U23 football last season, seemingly earmarked to get him ready for the next season, which is hopefully the case. The player is good at what he does, he is already a fans favourite. A loan spell could well be coming for him, but I would like to see him remain at United and utilised in whatever position he wants to play in, seeing him rise through the first team and cement a starting place. Him, Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera in a midfield three could be something to salivate in the years to come.

Appearances: Premier League: 4, Emirates FA Cup: 2, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 4, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 11

Goals: Premier League: 0, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 0

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 1, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 3/5

Antonio Valencia

For me the Ecuadorian was the Player of the Season for Manchester United, something thought by his peers as he was awarded the Player’s Player of the Season, but Ander Herrera was chosen by the supporters of the club, winning the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Season. Valencia turned a point under Mourinho, not being all that good defensively under Louis van Gaal, but under the Portuguese manager, he changed and could well have been the best right-back in the Premier League last season. Valencia signed a new contract earlier in the summer, which will surely mean he will keep his place, but cover will be needed throughout the season to keep him fresh, which there seems to be a lot of at the club right now with Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Axel Tuanzebe and some other talented youth coming through the ranks. Mourinho could also opt to bring in cover during the transfer window. Valencia has a few years left at the top and being resurgent as he was in the last season, he could be the difference between United winning the league next season.

Appearances: Premier League: 29, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 3, UEFA Europa League: 9, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 43

Goals: Premier League: 1, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 3, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 1

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 7, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 4.5/5

Matteo Darmian

The Italian defender had a chance to show what he could do under another manager, a chance to bring back his form from his first few matches for United, which saw him being compared to Gary Neville. That changes with performances not being all that good throughout his debut season, much the same this time, but injuries to Luke Shaw and the fact that Daley Blind was also covering for injuries to central defensive players, Matteo Darmian played at left-back for much of the season. He was not the best player in that position, but certainly not the worst either. Darmian may very well leave the club this summer with Mourinho looking for a side capable of challenging in the Premier League, the only competition they fell short of last season, but if he stays, he will be a valuable squad player, one which could seek a chance to become a starter, but that would depend on a few things, one being the fitness of Antonio Valencia who is the best right-back United have, despite him being a right-winger.

Appearances: Premier League: 18, Emirates FA Cup: 2, EFL Cup: 2, UEFA Europa League: 7, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 29

Goals: Premier League: 0, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 0

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 3, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 3/5

Axel Tuanzebe

Axel Tuanzebe was praised by Jose Mourinho near enough as soon as he became the manager, giving him his first team debut during pre-season on a trip to Wigan Athletic. The manager stated that giving him ten minutes was enough to see his qualities, suggesting that this season would be the season he would break through. It was but it was towards the end of the season where he was thrown into the first team, covering as a right-back with Antonio Valencia being rested against Arsenal, dealing with the threat of Alexis Sanchez very well. Tuanzebe then played out of position in midfield against Tottenham Hotspur, not playing his best game, which was understandable with him playing out of position. The player was utilised against Southampton and Crystal Palace also, as well as playing once in the Emirates FA Cup. Tuanzebe now knows what will be expected of him and with Marcos Rojo being injured for much of the coming season, along with new defensive acquisition Victor Lindelof, Tuanzebe could well find another chance to show the manager what he can do, keeping his defence rested in a bid to do much better next season, in the Premier League at least.

Appearances: Premier League: 4, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 5

Goals: Premier League: 0, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 0

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 0, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 3/5

copyright: JW