Nottingham Forest have been linked with a move to secure a permanent deal for James Garner, who spent last season on loan at the City Ground, but the club could now have competition as a new update emerges.
According to Sky Sports News, Southampton are also keen on signing the young Manchester United midfielder this summer.
In a clip posted to Twitter, Sky Sports claimed: “Southampton are interested in signing Manchester United’s James Garner, Nottingham Forest are also keen on Garner after he impressed on loan at the club last season.”
It was reported by The Athletic on Monday that the Red Devils are now open to selling the 21-year-old for a fee of around £14m.
Steve Cooper will already be delighted with the quality and quantity of signings that he has added to his squad, but to bring back a player who worked with him on the journey from the bottom of the Championship to Premier League promotion is an opportunity that he surely wouldn’t be able to pass up.
The 42-year-old is a huge admirer of the Man United youngster after building a “good relationship” with Garner, working with him not only at Forest but also in the England under-17s squad, and he has previously lavished praise on the rising star.
The Reds manager dubbed the youngster “excellent” when discussing the talented player’s development with The Athletic, saying: “I knew him from his England Under-17 days, where he was captain, so we had a relationship before here.
“He has been excellent. Over recent months he has been a high-performing player in the team.”
The 21-year-old, who was dubbed “superb” by journalist Sarah Clapson, became a standout performer in a deeper midfield role for Forest last season, scoring four goals, delivering eight assists and creating seven big chances.
He also averaged two key passes, 1.8 tackles and 1.4 interceptions per game over 41 Championship appearances, proving that he is a player who can thrive in Cooper’s system, while his standing as the squad’s fifth-best performer according to WhoScored indicates how valuable he was to their promotion campaign.
The Reds boss could even form a fantastic midfield partnership between new signing Remo Freuler and Garner, combining the Switzerland international’s experience (425 senior career outings), diligence and leadership with Garner’s hunger to impress and his capability to effectively involve himself in the attacking threat of the team.
Freuler is renowned for his hard-working attitude and was hailed a “conductor” for his leadership qualities for his former club Atalanta, which could be huge beneficial in Cooper’s pursuit to develop Garner’s talent even further if the 21-year-old does make a permanent move to the City Ground.
The signing of the Manchester United gem on a permanent basis would be a great piece of business to bring more of the winning mentality from the Championship back into the dressing room in the Premier League.