As reported by The Sun, newly-promoted Premier League side Nottingham Forest are interested in signing Manchester United youngster James Garner for a third consecutive time. Forest are willing to agree a loan or permanent deal, having returned to the English top-tier.
Garner is a Manchester United academy graduate, having represented the club at different age levels. He spent the last two campaigns on loan at the City Ground – first a six-month loan in the 19/20 season and then the whole 21/22 season, helping them end their 23-year exile from the Premier League.
However, Nottingham Forest would have to wait as the new United manager Erik ten Hag wants James Garner in his pre-season squad to see his calibre before loaning him out. He has attracted interest from several Premier League clubs including Everton, Leeds United, Southampton and Leicester City.
The Red Devils are looking for a player who could dominate the midfield and boost their chances to win trophies. Garner came under the spotlight after an impressive performance against Liverpool in the FA Cup, which has earned him the backing of club legends.
For a team like United who are being forced to pay huge sums to attract midfielders, the 21-year old midfielder could save them a lot of money so that they can invest in other areas. Nevertheless, Nottingham Forest lead the queue for the signature of James Garner if the United board choose to loan him out for another season.
Moreover, the player himself is unsure what the future holds. According to Nottingham Post, Garner admitted in an interview for the play-off final matchday programme that his future is uncertain:
“The whole idea of a loan is to show everyone what you can do, get better and put yourself in the best possible position to go back to your parent club.”
James Garner has been getting a lot of game-time in the lower division and has displayed the kind of potential he possesses. He has been a regular starter in the Championship with 41 appearances last season, during which he scored four goals and provided eight assists (stats via Transfermarkt).
The 21-year-old gave the assist for the solitary goal in the Championship play-off final, which now sees Forest back to the Premier League for the first time since 1999. He likes to go wide on both sides and attempt passes into the opposition’s penalty box. Yet, he is not a huge crosser of the ball, attempting only 31 crosses into the opposition’s penalty box.
The midfielder is a menace in the air having won most of his headers while contesting 50-50 duels. He shows his dominance in the midfield by putting in last-ditch tackles during opposition counter-attacks.
— MU Comps 🔰 (@CompsMU) June 14, 2022
Most of his goals have come from long-range strikes and he does have a dangerous right foot. James Garner is technically sound. He attempts on average 40.2 passes per 90 minutes, with an 81% pass accuracy, progressing the play forward (as per Breaking the Lines). He is, however, a weak dribbler and looks at the centre-backs to bail him out when under pressure from the opponents.
As a number 6, the youngster has incredible stats in terms of average chances created and tackles/interceptions made per 90. He has the right attributes to become a top midfielder and it has been evident from his ability to control the game when he is on the ball. He can switch with ease from a holding six role to an attacking eight on the edge of the opposition penalty box because of his ability to produce defence-splitting passes.
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He has already made his debut for United and will be looking for more game time for the Premier League giants. The Red Devils are left with five midfielders in their current roster after the likes of Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic are all confirmed to leave Old Trafford at the end of this month.
Ten Hag wants to give all the loaned out players a chance to prove themselves during the pre-season with outcast Andreas Pereira also being recalled. James Garner has a contract with Manchester United until 2024 and Nottingham Forest are limited to signing just two players as per the new rules of the Premier League. It would be ideal for the youngster to spend another year with the Reds, this time in the top-flight and enhance his reputation.
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