It has been a rough year for Timothy Fosu-Mensah and just as there was light at the end of the tunnel, it may have been snatched away.

The Dutchman’s troubles go back to 2018, when he signed on loan under Frank de Boer at Crystal Palace and then saw his manager fired after just five games.

A loan at Fulham also saw a change of manager before he suffered an ACL injury last January.

He has just returned from 12 months on the sidelines and has been back training with the first team after coming through two under-23 matches.

Opportunity was right there

Fosu-Mensah was so close. He should have been days away from his comeback.

Manchester United’s 5-0 Europa League first leg win over LASK should have given the Dutchman a chance at least to figure in the matchday squad and be on the bench if not a starter for a much rotated team at Old Trafford.

This match was due to take place on Thursday. Now it may never be held at all.

(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Uncertain future

Fosu-Mensah’s contract is set to expire in June. United have an option to extend it, but have not done so yet.

The Express reported United could offer temporary extensions to Nemanja Matic, Angel Gomes and Odion Ighalo if the season is continued beyond June.

Fosu-Mensah not being named was likely just an oversight, but it does highlight how he really is on the fringes and requires goodwill on United’s part as he is not an essential part of the squad.

 

He will have been hoping to use the LASK game, and any other opportunities, to try and prove to United he is worthy of at least the one-year extension the club have a right to activate.

(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

There’s a player in there

Fosu-Mensah has been mismanaged since his breakthrough under Louis van Gaal, and loan spells failed due to a combination of bad luck, and his own failure to grasp the opportunity.

He is now 22-years-old and while versatile to play at right-back and central midfield, United are not lacking in these areas, unless he really could define himself as a defensive midfielder.

He has the athleticism to his game as one of the fastest players at the club, but it’s unclear whether he has the positional discipline to excel their to the standard required.

It was his poor luck that when there was a dearth of midfield options at United earlier in the season he was unavailable. Now he’s back, the team look stronger there than ever.

United of course want to trim the wage bill, and the cold, number driven decision would simply be to cut him when his deal expires, considering his age and players in front of him.

The club could decide though to be sympathetic, acknowledging he has not had a fair crack yet upon his return.

How he performs in training over the next few weeks and months could be a decisive factor. Having fought back from a ACL injury, he will not be giving up yet.

It’s not quite over yet for Fosu-Mensah. At some stage, he needs some luck to go his way.

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