Brandon Williams was Manchester United’s breakout star of the 2019/20 season. This campaign has been far more difficult.
Despite starting last season’s Europa League semi-final, Williams has fallen out of favour.
Luke Shaw has stepped up his game, and Alex Telles’ arrival at left-back served as a hammer blow to Williams’ first team chances.
Williams was kept on, as cover for Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back. But he has not been needed.
Clubs are reportedly queuing up to offer Williams an opportunity from next season.
The Sun report newly promoted Norwich City are keen on a loan move, with Southampton and West Ham also keen.
Sky Sports reported in January that Newcastle were interested in Williams.
Williams has frequently had to drop down to United’s under-23 team this season to get game time.
This season he has played just seven minutes of Premier League football, compared to 1,037 minutes the previous campaign.
In cup competitions Williams has made only three appearances this season.
His chances have been limited because United’s full-backs have avoided injuries. Perhaps another year there might not have been so much luck on United’s part – working against Williams.
But he can’t afford to wait around and find out. A loan move looks like the ideal solution.
A logical choice
Leaving on loan is a straightforward decision for United and Williams. He needs to play football.
At just 20, he has shown promise, but this has been a year of stagnation, and he can’t afford another.
A loan leaves the door open for him to return to United and challenge for a place in future seasons.
What is not such an easy choice, is which club to go with.
The tricky part
Newly promoted Norwich play good football and could be tempting, but Williams may not fancy a relegation scrap.
He also needs to decide a preference between right-back and left-back. Norwich have a particularly good option on the right with Max Aarons.
Southampton’s long-standing interest going back to the summer of 2020 could work in their favour. Ralph Hasenhuttl is a good manager who could benefit Williams.
On the other hand, West Ham may be tempting if they secure European football for next season, and he may be enthused by Jesse Lingard’s success at the club.
Newcastle would be a bold choice, and Williams may consider the size of the club a reason to pursue a move if they revisit their interest.
There may be other clubs who get involved too, and the option of moving abroad could surface.
Wherever Williams ends up, he needs to get it right, to return to United with some momentum. It’s a decision which could shape the rest of his career.
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