What the future holds for Man Utd’s Loanees
The 2020/21 season looks set to be a strange one. Off the back of the current disrupted campaign, there’s no telling what things will look like once the new campaign kicks off or even when it will begin.
The Premier League remains hopeful of completing the 2019/20 season, but teams are already using the time off to look at what lies ahead. For some players, this will mean a change in scenery – and for Manchester United’s loan army, everything is up in the air.
So how many of United’s senior players out on loan at the moment still have a future at Old Trafford?
Alexis Sanchez (Inter Milan)
Easily the most high-profile figure on the books currently plying his trade away from Old Trafford, and Sanchez’s United prospects do not look particularly great.
The Chilean consistently failed to produce during his season-and-a-half at United and joined Inter Milan on loan last August.
He has not fared much better in Italy, scoring just once in 15 games for his new club as coach Antonio Conte opts for a two-striker formation which does not really suit him.
Set to turn 32 next season, if Sanchez is still at Old Trafford next season it will be because United could not find a buyer willing to take on his huge wages.
Chris Smalling (Roma)
Another United loanee shipped off to Italy, but Smalling has had a more successful time in Serie A with Roma.
The Giallorossi may sit two positions lower in the table than Inter, but Smalling has been far more involved in the action than Sanchez after making 28 appearances in all competitions and being hailed as one of the best centre-backs in the league.
The 30-year-old’s situation is probably the most difficult to call of all United’s loan players.
His Italian renaissance makes him an attractive option for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer next season but Smalling would likely rather stay at Roma, where he is a starter, than return to United, where he would likely feature less often.
Marcos Rojo (Estudiantes)
It’s hardly been a dream return to his boyhood club for Rojo. The defender had made just one appearance for Estudiantes since heading back to Argentina in January.
Part of that is down to the current hiatus football has taken all over the world, but it is also due to the injury problems that have plagued Rojo for the past few seasons.
The 30-year-old has already hinted that he hopes to remain in Argentina beyond June, and with his United contract set to expire next year, it’s difficult to see him playing for the club again.
Dean Henderson (Sheffield United)
Henderson has arguably been the outstanding Premier League goalkeeper of 2019/20 as he has helped Sheffield United challenge for European football following their promotion from the Championship.
The 23-year-old could even finish above his parent club this season, with the Blades trailing United by just two points with a game in hand. He could be England’s top choice by the time Euro 2020 rolls around next year.
Of course, all this complicates things, and United have a big call to make on Henderson’s future.
They are not expected to sell Henderson as they see him as a long-term replacement for David de Gea, but with the Spaniard firmly established as United number one, Henderson could be sent out on loan again