Teden Mengi has become the first player to leave Manchester United on loan in the January transfer window.

Mengi, 19, has joined Birmingham City until the end of the season. He effectively replaces Dion Sanderson, who has been recalled by Wolves.

The central defender told the Blues’ official website how happy he was to make the move into the second tier.

Tahith Chong is also out on loan at St Andrews’, and was impressing there before injury halted his progress and clearly played a role in Mengi’s decision.

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“I am delighted to be here. [I am] ready to work hard and kick on for the rest of the season,” he said.

“It was important for me to try and find what was best for me, which is here at Blues and to just kick on and get as many games under my belt and improve as much as I can as a player and as a person.

“As soon as I heard about Blues I was straight on the phone to [Tahith] Chongy and he told me ‘it is great, the lads are great, I am going to enjoy it, everyone is a nice person’, so I am just looking forward to it.”

Mengi spent the second half of 2020/21 on loan in the second tier, when he joined Wayne Rooney’s Derby County.

He may have expected to spend the whole of this campaign away from Old Trafford but he did pre-season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who kept him around.

Mengi’s exit comes at a time when United’s central defensive options are stretched due to the absences of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof.

Eric Bailly is bound for the Africa Cup of Nations, but Phil Jones performed admirably in his first game in a little under two years against Wolves.

With Axel Tuanzebe reportedly on the verge of signing for Napoli, Ralf Rangnick is perhaps risking leaving himself short.

That said, the German will likely reason that it is better that the likes of Tuanzebe and Mengi go somewhere they can play every week rather than sticking around as cover.

If Mengi can replicate Chong’s impact, this move will work well for all parties and he could make his debut at home to Plymouth in the FA Cup third-round on Saturday.

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