The 16 players sent out on loan by Man Utd in 2020-21 – & how they fared
The 2020-21 season ended on a disappointing note for Manchester United, but they made great strides forward with only a second runners-up finish in the Premier League since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
Many fans will be looking at the transfer market and names such as Jadon Sancho or Harry Kane to help them progress further next term, but could any of their loanees help bolster Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-team squad?
The likes of David Beckham, John O’Shea and Danny Welbeck all went out on loan before making an impact at Old Trafford and will serve as inspiration for the 16 players sent out in 2020-21. Here’s how they all fared.
The 21-year-old winger has made 16 appearances under Solskjaer at United but had to move elsewhere for more regular opportunities in 2020-21.
But he made just four Bundesliga starts for Werder Bremen before being sent out to Belgian side Club Brugge in January. The Bundesliga side might have wished they retained his services for the run-in, given they suffered a shock relegation after picking up just one point from their last 10 matches.
Chong subsequently made 10 appearances in the Jupiler Pro League – five starts, five as a substitute – registering four assists, as Brugge won the title. He scored once for each club, each in the domestic cup competitions.
Former PSG academy graduate Traore returned to France last summer, arriving at second-tier Caen on a season-long loan. He made 19 appearances, but 13 of those were off the bench, as the former Ligue 1 outfit finished 17th and only narrowly avoided another relegation.
Having caught the eye in United’s youth ranks last season, including against senior opposition in the EFL Trophy, Kovar was sent out to Swindon for more experience.
The goalkeeper kept one clean sheet in 18 appearances for the struggling side, conceding 35 goals. He was recalled in January and Swindon ended up going back down to League Two.
There’s big hope that the Birkenhead-born midfielder can follow in the footsteps of Scott McTominay and go on to have a role at his parent club, but his first loan away was filled with frustration.
He did make 20 appearances (12 starts) for promotion-bound Watford but struggled to make an impact and fell out of favour once manager Xisco Munoz arrived shortly before Christmas.
A second Championship loan was far more successful, looking a comfortable fit at the base of midfield for Chris Hughton’s Nottingham Forest. He also notched four goals for the club, including a long-range cracker on his final appearance.
Highly-rated 20-year-old midfielder Levitt has been capped seven times by Wales and has been named in their 26-man squad for the Euros this summer.
That’s quite a bold show of faith, given his comparative lack of experience in senior club football. He made just three League One appearances for Lee Bowyer’s Charlton before Christmas before an eyebrow-raising leftfield move to Croatian side Istra 1961.
He made nine appearances, seven in the Croatian top flight, for Istra, as they finished ninth and finished runners-up in the cup.
Onto his sixth loan away from his parent club, it doesn’t look likely that Pereira will start challenging David de Gea and Dean Henderson for the No.1 shirt any time soon.
He made two appearances for Huddersfield in 2020-21 – a 4-3 defeat to Stoke and a 7-0 defeat to Norwich. Oof.
Mancunian centre-back Taylor fought testicular cancer to continue his professional playing career, and last summer signed an extension with his boyhood club before going out on loan to non-league Kidderminster Harriers.
On his return to his parent club, he confirmed he’ll be leaving permanently this summer.
“It was great at Kidderminster, a completely new experience. Obviously, you have the luxury of the facilities at United so going down to the National League North is a culture shock,” he told the official Manchester United website.
“I learned so much, especially in my position, with the help of the manager and players there. It was a really tight-knit group which really helped me.”
— utdreport (@utdreport) November 27, 2019
Solskjaer stressed the importance of Pereira getting regular playing time after his opportunities at United were limited following the impact made by Bruno Fernandes midway through the 2019-20 campaign.
But he didn’t find that in the Italian capital; he made 33 appearances for Lazio, but 28 of those were off the bench, while he only played 527 minutes of football in Serie A. Unsurprisingly, the club have reportedly rejected the option to sign him on a permanent deal for €27million.
Contracted at Old Trafford until 2023, expect United to try sell him this summer. If no buyer emerges, another loan next season appears likely.
Having struggled to dislodge Aaron Wan-Bissaka at United, Dalot headed to AC Milan in search of regular first-team football.
He was in and out of Stefano Pioli’s side in 2020-21, starting 10 Serie A games and making another 11 league appearances off the bench as they finished second behind Inter Milan.
The full-back also played against his parent club in the Europa League last-16 but struggled to make a major impact as United won 2-1 on aggregate.
“I’m happy to have become more and more complete,” Dalot told Gazzetta dello Sport in May. “Italians love football. They talk about it always and being part of this culture has been a fantastic experience. And on the pitch, I feel I have improved a lot tactically.
“I have learned in some defensive aspects and it has been fantastic to develop these qualities. But not only that: in attack learning more about high pressing and recovering the ball as soon as possible. It is all very useful.”
Diogo Dalot with an inch-perfect outside foot assist for AC Milan 🤩
That was lovely! pic.twitter.com/9TeThTIgDY
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) October 29, 2020
Solskjaer took advantage of his connections with the Class of ‘92 owned Salford City and sent Bernard to the League Two side ahead of 2020-21.
The centre-back established himself as a key player under Richie Wellens and helped shore up their defence, winning the PFA Fans’ Player of the Month award in December.
“League Two is definitely a league where you see a lot of aerial balls but it’s showed me football is not always about the nice parts on the floor, playing out from the back,” Bernard told the Manchester United website in March 2021.
“Teams can hoof it long and play off second balls, yet still dominate and win the game. It’s definitely something I’ve learned and I’ve coped well with it.
“You come up against big strikers, small strikers, and the big ones are the most difficult! But it’s been a good test and I’ve coped well really.”
But he started just four games after Wellens was replaced by Gary Bowyer in March, and he was sent off after 32 minutes on his final appearance.
Haygarth joined Brentford B on loan and netted four times in his first 11 games before making his first-team debut as a second-half substitute against Nottingham Forest in December.
The 19-year-old then joined the Bees on a permanent deal in January and made two cameo appearances in the FA Cup during the second half of the season.
After initially joining Brighouse Town on loan, Carney moved to Northern Irish side Portadown in January after the Northern Premier League was suspended.
Despite conceding 46 goals in 26 games, the goalkeeper was one of their standout performers in the second half of the season and won Portadown’s Player of the Month award in February.
“Most opposition managers single out Jacob after our games and I am just delighted with everything overall since he joined the club,” manager Matthew Tipton told the Newsletter in March.
“I would love him to stay with us again next season and he has really settled in well since moving over to Northern Ireland.
“One massive bonus Jacob gives us is his kicking ability and that decision-making to quickly get us on the front foot.”
He’s set to leave United at the end of 2020-21 and has been linked with moves to Sunderland and Burnley.
After joining League One side MK Dons on a short-term loan in January, Laird got his first taste of regular first-team football.
Playing as a right wing-back in a 3-4-1-2 formation, he was able to showcase his attacking skill set, registering four assists in 25 appearances in all competitions.
“He just needed a bit of encouragement and the freedom to express himself,” club captain Dean Lewington told the MK Citizen in April. “I try and do as much of his defensive duties as I can to help him express himself.
“He’s really improved since he first came here, he’s come on leaps and bounds. It’s just a shame we won’t get to keep him.”
Laird really aint messing around👏 Against Burnley at Turf Moore as well😍 pic.twitter.com/erFEsMC5jL
— UTDARMY🔴 (@Jay_ManUtd) January 9, 2021
Having fallen out of favour under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Lingard decided to join West Ham on loan in January 2021.
The 28-year-old was quickly able to rediscover his best form, registering nine goals and five assists in 16 appearances for the Hammers.
His performances helped David Moyes’ side qualify for Europa League football and even led to an England recall.
Signed from Penarol in 2020, Pellistri initially played for United’s Under-23s before joining La Liga side Alaves on loan in January.
While injuries problems halted his progress, the winger still made 12 appearances and played his part in helping them avoid relegation.
He particularly impressed in a 1-0 defeat against Atletico Madrid and was praised by compatriot Luis Suarez.
— UtdDistrict (@UtdDistrict) March 22, 2021
Mengi worked under United legend Wayne Rooney at Derby County in the second half of 2020-21 and made nine appearances for the club.
The centre-back returned to United in April after suffering a season-ending injury but could rejoin the Championship side in 2021-22.
“He has been fantastic for us and we’ve seen him grow with each game,” Rooney said. “We will keep in contact with United and Teden about next season.”