The 21-year-old academy graduate was perhaps hoping for first-team chances under Erik ten Hag this season after he impressed on loan at Nottingham Forest last season, contributing four goals and eight assists for Steve Cooper’s side en route to promotion.
However, it became clear early in the season that the Englishman wasn’t in Ten Hag’s plans, and Everton are the ones to benefit from a potential mistake by the Glazers, as they signed him on a four-year deal after agreeing a £15m fee with the Red Devils.
Although United have brought in Casemiro this summer, the midfield duo of Scott McTominay and Fred has come in for a lot of criticism in the past, and it was perhaps a surprise that Garner didn’t feature in any of United’s fixtures this season.
He earned plenty of praise for his performances in Forest’s side last term, with former goalkeeper Paul Robinson saying of his displays:
“Garner has been exceptional at Forest. He is an example of why players get sent out on loan.
“He can play at the top level and I think he has proven that at Forest. I don’t think he’s one that will go straight into the Man United side but I think there is a first-team role there for him and he will feature next season.”
It is disappointing to see a club who once took such pride in their youth get rid of one of their most talented prospects without ever really giving him a chance, as Garner made just seven appearances for the senior side.
Some United fans were perhaps hoping to see Cristiano Ronaldo moved on after he made it clear that he didn’t want to be at the club, with Ten Hag’s side also winning each of their last three fixtures with him on the bench, but he will remain at Old Trafford while another bright academy prospect departs.
Of course, no one will ever doubt the great Ronaldo, but it is an intriguing strategy as United seem to put their faith in the elder statesman – Casemiro and CR7 – rather than players in the embryonic stages of their career; Garner and Dean Henderson.
It will be hard to ever tell whether the midfielder could have made an impression on the first team at Old Trafford but considering his numbers in the final third last term, it is a shock that he wasn’t even given a chance by their new Dutch boss.
Indeed, having been dubbed as the ‘new Michael Carrick‘ in some circles, he’d have made for a fine player if he eventually followed in the footsteps of the club’s cult hero.
Instead, those in Manchester will have to watch on from afar and if Garner succeeds at Everton, it will not only be a source of regret for the manager, but it will be yet another transfer that goes down as a disaster by the Glazers.