Manchester United should recall Timothy Fosu-Mensah back from Crystal Palace loan
Manchester United; a club associated with harnessing young footballing talents, something which they've done for decades. Somewhat surprisingly, Jose Mourinho has carried on that mantra, handing regular minutes to youth products Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard.
However, arguably their most talented player is currently out on loan, plying his trade for a fellow Premier League club. That man? Timothy Fosu-Mensah, whom Louis van Gaal gave a professional debut to back in the 2015/16 campaign. When handed an opportunity as a teenager, Fosu-Mensah didn't look back. For the remaining games in that season, the Dutchman became an integral man in Van Gaal's starting line-up; playing ten games and making a huge impression.
When Mourinho took over, Fosu-Mensah was resigned back to the substitutes bench, and although he made eleven appearances in the self-proclaimed Special One's debut year, the majority of those came late on in games when the match was already decided.
During summer, both player and manager had a decision to make. Eventually, the duo would settle upon a loan move, that would see Fosu-Mensah, now 20, move to Crystal Palace as he searched for regular football.
From minute one, he benefitted. Fosu-Mensah would get the playing experience that he craved and deserved. Yes, he wouldn't be turning out for a side that is expected to win trophies like Manchester United, but sometimes, you have to take a step back to move forward.
He's now half-way through a season-long loan deal and recently, he put in probably the best performance of his career - and against the Premier League champions-elect, Manchester City.
No doubt Mourinho will be watching Fosu-Mensah's performances with a keen eye, and perhaps he's thinking about recalling him to Old Trafford; a move that'd make perfect sense given the current scenario.
Matteo Darmian is, quite frankly, wasting away at United. The Italian started brilliantly, but he's been on a huge downward spiral since then, and the lack of pace he possesses is alarming. Reports have suggested that Serie A giants Juventus are eyeing a move for the former Torino man. Mourinho should snap their hand off and offer to drive Darmian to Italy himself...
Then we move onto Antonio Valencia, who's currently out injured with a hamstring issue. Fosu-Mensah isn't as good as his Ecuadorian counterpart at the moment, but he could certainly learn from him, patiently waiting for his opportunity to displace his teammate.
Don't forget that Fosu-Mensah's versatility means he can also be deployed as a centre-back - the position where Van Gaal gave him his chances just two years ago. There is some strong competition in that position within the United team, but I'd say he's better than Daley Blind, more intelligent than Chris Smalling and is more composed than Marcos Rojo.
For me, it seems a no-brainer to bring him back and let Fosu-Mensah stake his claim. He's a talented lad with a clear hunger, desire and drive to make it to the top in football. The 20-year-old has earned a return, so give it to him and watch him perform at an elite level for United rather than Palace.