Manchester United

Erik ten Hag has insisted that he will need to utilise his Manchester United squad this season, but several fringe players may not want to hang around to wait for their chance.

The Reds boss has had the luxury of being able to field stronger sides in the early group stage matches of the Europa League due to Premier League postponements around the Queen’s funeral – and later on, he needed to play strengthened teams to try and earn top spot.

It means those on the edges have not been granted game time they may once have spied. The early rounds of the domestic cups will offer more opportunities for sought-after minutes but these get fewer as the season progresses and so some may push for a January exit.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka may be looking for a New Year departure but that likely won’t happen unless a backup right-back is brought in. Donny van de Beek may be encouraged to seek a temporary move elsewhere.

Meanwhile, seven others may instigate a conversation about a loan move away.

After a breakthrough season under Ralf Rangnick, Elanga is at risk of becoming fifth-choice winger behind Alejandro Garnacho under Ten Hag. Antony, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford are also all ahead of him in the pecking order and the Swede may be best developing his career out on the road.

The midfielder had a wonderful pre-season but is yet to make his Premier League bow. Iqbal has seen the progression the likes of Hannibal Mejbri and Amad are making at Championship clubs and may want a bit of that for himself.

In a remarkable situation, Pellistri could have more World Cup games than United first-team minutes come Christmas. The seven-time capped Uruguayan is yet to play competitively for the Reds and will have the chance to put himself in the shop window in Qatar if played.

Savage made his senior debut alongside Iqbal in last year’s Champions League but has also failed to play in the first-team since. He has bore the armband several times in Premier League 2 but may eye a return to the frontline of the game in 2023.

There are four left-backs on United’s first-team books and it could be argued that Williams is bottom of the pile. He will surely be looking to leave permanently soon but for now, a loan move with a recall clause could be sufficient amid the club’s lack of right-back depth.

The defender won’t be back before Christmas but may be ready in time for the new year. He’s had a trying past 18 months with damp loan spells at Aston Villa and Napoli last season not going to plan. He will be determined to show he’s still got it once back fit.

Mengi’s super stay at Birmingham was curtailed by a lengthy injury which took time to heal. He returned to Premier League 2 action in October and will be chomping at the bit for more senior action again.


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