Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to give academy graduates James Garner and Teden Mengi the chance to fight for a spot in the first team next season.
20-year-old midfielder Garner has enjoyed an excellent loan spell away with Nottingham Forest, while centre-back Mengi, who was on the bench three times for Solskjaer’s senior side in the Champions League this year, managed nine appearances with Wayne Rooney’s Derby County before a hamstring injury brought his season to an abrupt end.
According to the Manchester Evening News, both clubs are eager to bring their respective players back for the 2021/22 season, and while that hasn’t been ruled out, Solskjaer wants to take a closer look at both before making a final decision.
Solskjaer has been impressed with both players and feels both deserve a shot at proving themselves at Old Trafford, but a decision will be made in pre-season as to what to do with both.
With Forest and Derby keen to bring back Garner and Mengi respectively, the option for another Championship loan is there, but United may decide to ship either player off to a Premier League side to step up their development.
For Garner, talks over a new long-term contract will also likely get underway soon. The 20-year-old has one year remaining on his current deal, although United do have the option to extend that for a further year.
There will likely be no shortage of interest in Garner, who started the season with Watford but took his game to a new level after swapping them for Forest in January. He bagged four goals in 20 appearances, including a great free-kick against QPR and a Goal of the Season contender against Preston.
Decisions on both will depend on United’s business in the transfer market this summer. Solskjaer is on the lookout for both a centre-back and central midfielder, and both Mengi and Garner will get the chance to fill that void.
However, if United can bring in any of their preferred targets, expect Garner and Mengi to head out for another season.
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