Manchester United have had a terrible start to the season as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side sit in 16th in the Premier League table. But things could get a whole lot worse as a questionable transfer strategy could come back to bite the Red Devils…
According to The Athletic, Brandon Williams has been advised to push for a move away from Old Trafford by an unnamed Premier League agent. The England U21 international enjoyed a successful breakthrough season under Solskjaer as he played second fiddle to Luke Shaw, but he has fallen further down the pecking order after the arrival of Alex Telles on deadline day.
Williams signed a new four-year deal with United in August after his performances persuaded the club to cool their interest in Ben Chilwell. The right-footed left-back could be switched to right-back as an understudy to the ever-reliable Aaron Wan-Bissaka, but Solskjaer started Timothy Fosu-Mensah instead in United’s defeat to Crystal Palace.
Southampton made an enquiry over a potential loan deal as Ralph Hasenhuttl wants to strengthen his squad. However, a move never materialised, although the domestic window remains open, with Premier League clubs free to agree terms with lower league sides until October 16th. But they are not allowed to do business with each other.
This could turn out to be a massive mistake from all those involved as the £9.9m-valued 20-year-old is obviously going to find it difficult to break into the starting XI. He hasn’t even been named on the bench for any of the first three Premier League fixtures and has only started two games in the Carabao Cup since the summer so far.
Solskjaer heaped praise on Williams at the start of the year, drawing comparisons between the player and his former teammate Gary Neville. The club legend said: “I think he’s been absolutely outstanding since he came in, every challenge we’ve put in front of him he’s tackled head on.” Similarly, Paul Scholes dubbed him an “excellent” defender.
Well, perhaps Ed Woodward would have been better off sorting out a loan move for Williams instead of chasing after Jadon Sancho like a headless chicken as the 5 ft 6 man will now cost the club more money by barely being involved at all.
Getting him off the books, or at least allowing another club to partially pay his wages, would have reduced their wage bill and may have even helped their hopeless pursuit of Sancho, as the Red Devils refused to meet Borussia Dortmund’s £108m asking price. Williams is understood to have seen his wages skyrocket from £4,000-per-week to a whopping £40,000-a-week, which could rise to £60,000, under the terms of his new deal.
Most importantly, Hasenhuttl has worked his magic with former Spurs defender Kyle Walker-Peters, who is only a couple of years older than the United academy graduate. Whether or not he would have had a similar result with Williams is up for debate, but he has shown he can get the best out of young prospects, and United should have loaned him out to St Mary’s for the rest of the season. EFL clubs can still sign Premier League players, so maybe this saga isn’t over just yet.