Like the majority of Manchester United’s new signings, Alex Telles has been unable to hit the ground running for the most part. After arriving at Old Trafford from FC Porto for £13.6m plus £18m in add-ons in the summer, he has made just three appearances in all competitions so far this season, as he became the second United player to test positive for COVID-19 after Paul Pogba contracted the virus on holiday.
However, his time with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has so far showcased his versatility, as the 27-year-old has been deployed as either a left-back or on the left wing in recent weeks.
The Brazil international started the 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at home, playing the full 90′ minutes, before he continued his red-hot form as the Red Devils romped to a 4-1 victory over Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Per SofaScore, he received a high rating of 7 out of ten for his performance – he made two tackles and two clearances, whilst he produced four key passes, 32 out of 41 passes in total and took 72 touches of the ball, as the full-back relished the chance to demonstrate his attacking ability.
As the Brazillian continues to be integrated into the starting line-up, Brandon Williams continues to fall further down the pecking order. Despite Telles’ positive test and Luke Shaw’s injury struggles, the 20-year-old has still made fewer appearances than either of his teammates, having played just 301′ minutes of first-team football so far this season.
According to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, Southampton are one of several Premier League clubs who are closely monitoring his situation ahead of a potential loan move in January.
Whilst Solskjaer blocked his exit in the summer, it seems he is prepared to change his mind, as his appearances have been limited to just two Carabao Cup appearances this season.
Given his age, Williams, who reportedly receives wages worth £60,000-per-week, has a lot of room yet to grow, so sending the academy product out on loan to get some minutes under his belt would be a shrewd bit of business by Ed Woodward. The youngster started 11 out of 17 games in the Premier League last season and ably deputised for Shaw in his absence.
However, it seems as though Solskjaer prefers the new summer recruit instead, having handed him a start for the past two games in a row, whilst Williams has been left on the bench.
With two other left-backs now on the roster, competition for places has arguably never been higher. But if the outcast is allowed to leave on loan in January and impresses at St Mary’s, he could force Solskjaer to reshuffle his plans.