Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will undoubtedly need to add talent and depth to his squad if he has any hope of challenging for the Premier League title next season.
The Old Trafford side currently lag behind their cross-city rivals Manchester City in the title race and will almost surely struggle to make up the gap between now and the end of the season.
As such, fans and perhaps even the club’s own board will be demanding new recruits and a fresh assault on the English league title. Man Utd will undoubtedly be busy in the coming transfer window.
But before the club begins drawing up a shortlist of the most exciting players in Europe, they should perhaps take stock of the players they already have on their books and are out on loan across the continent.
Here is a rundown on how the players are faring:
Signed for Man United in 2018 for £19 million, Diogo Dalot arrived from Porto as an exciting full-back that undoubtedly had a bright future at Old Trafford. However, the defender has since struggled to break into the club’s first team and as a result was sent out on loan to Milan last summer.
In Italy, Dalot has shown glimpses of what he can do either on the left or right flank, but for the most part has found himself sitting on the bench as a back-up option in Stefano Pioli’s side.
Although the 21-year-old talent has started all but one of the club’s eight games in the Europa League, Dalot had (as of March 7, 2021) clocked just 496 minutes of Serie A football this season and has by no means hoovered up the kind of match experience that United may have been hoping he’d get in Italy.
However, he scored a fantastic goal for AC Milan against Verona in Serie A on March 8 to once again demonstrate why he was rated so highly as a teenager.
After coming through the youth teams at PSV, Andreas Pereira made the move to Manchester United at the age of 16 and subsequently worked his way up the English club’s youth teams until he was ready for first team football at Old Trafford.
Despite loan moves to Granada and Valencia between 2016 and 2017, Pereira hasn’t exactly developed into a player with the quality needed to hold down a starting position at Man Utd. To date the Brazilian international has managed just 45 appearances for the Red Devils.
As such, this season saw the midfielder move to Italy, where he was sent on loan to Serie A side Lazio. However, so far this season the 25-year-old midfielder has managed just 21 appearances and 548 minutes for Simone Inzaghi’s side and will likely return to Old Trafford with the intention of leaving the club for good.
Another player who has struggled to live up to the hype and has subsequently become an afterthought at Old Trafford is Jesse Lingard. Once regarded as an exciting, attacking talent, the England international has struggled for game time since Solskjaer returned to the club. So much so that in the January transfer window the forward pushed for a loan move to pick up game time and ended up moving to West Ham.
However, since his move to London, Lingard has quickly re-established himself as an impressive Premier League player. Indeed, in his first five games for David Moyes’ side the forward has already managed to pick up three goals and two assists.
If he can continue that kind of form until the end of the season then Solskjaer will have to seriously consider changing his opinion of the forward and reintroduce him to his first team plans.
At just 19 years of age, there’s little doubt that Facundo Pellistri is a fledgling talent that still has a long way to go before he proves he’s ready to live up to the hype that currently surrounds him.
The young winger only joined Man United in October 2020, when he made the move from his boyhood club Penarol in Uruguay in a deal reported to be around €10 million. And then without even featuring to the English giants, Pellistri was sent on loan to Deportivo Alaves a few months later for the remainder of the season.
However, it remains to be seen whether the young talent will be able pick up any meaningful game time in Spain. In Deportivo’s five league games to date, Pellistri has featured in just two and played for a grand total of just 78 minutes.
Perhaps the youngster will go on to nail down a starting role for the La Liga club but it seems unlikely that we’ll be able to take much from his time in Spain at the end of the season.
Having come through the youth ranks at Feyenoord, Tahith Chong decided to then sign for Manchester United over Chelsea at the age of 16 and has spent the last five years developing into a promising young winger.
The Netherlands U21 international was sent on loan to Werder Bremen in the first half of this season and picked up no less than 13 appearances for the Bundesliga side, but much of that was late substitutions and after struggling to get a starting role in the team Chong returned to Old Trafford in January.
Before the end of the January transfer window the Old Trafford prospect was then sent on loan to Belgian side Club Brugge with high hopes of getting more regular game time than he did in Germany. And for the most part that’s exactly what’s happened. From six possible games, Chong has started four and only failed to feature in one. Let’s see how he gets on with the remainder of the season.
After signing for Manchester United in 2012, Joel Pereira has spent the last eight or nine years moving from one loan deal to the next as a competent goalkeeper that is clearly nowhere near the level needed from his parent club.
After a rather error-prone and somewhat disastrous spell at Scottish club Heart of Midlothian last season, Pereira was then sent on loan to Huddersfield Town in August 2020 for the duration of this campaign.
However, the Portuguese shot-stopper has made just one appearance for the English Championship club and is unlikely to make much of an impact between now and the end of the season. Expect this player to leave Man Utd at the end of the season when his current deal expires.