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Southampton leading the chase for James Garner

Host of Premier League clubs are after the United academy graduate

by Ayantan Chowdhury

Two back-to-back comprehensive defeats have set alarm bells ringing at Manchester United. With Liverpool up next, the pressure has been ramped up on Erik ten Hag as he tries to find a way to help the team get on the board.

One of the biggest weaknesses for United so far has been their lack of control in midfield. Fred was the first player to be hooked in both games while Scott McTominay did not fare too differently either.

Christian Eriksen was deployed as a deep-lying playmaker but he is not known for his defensive contribution. And the Dutch boss wants to find the ideal orchestrator, someone who can also do the dirty work in the centre of the park.

Frenkie de Jong was supposed to be Ten Hag’s ideal choice but it seems unlikely that the Dutch playmaker will make the move to the Premier League.

After the Adrien Rabiot deal fell through, Casemiro has emerged as the next big target for the Red Devils. But prior to the start of the season, there was a feeling that the solution might come from within the academy.

James Garner had enjoyed a brilliant season with Nottingham Forest in the Championship and had helped the side to win promotion to the Premier League after a 23-year absence.

Garner on his way out

After impressing all and sundry, it seemed like pre-season would be the time when the England U-21 international would cement a place in Ten Hag’s team.

But an untimely injury meant the 21-year-old could not really catch the new Dutch manager’s eye and now it has emerged that United are open to selling the academy graduate.

A host of Premier League clubs are chasing his signature and the list includes Nottingham Forest, Tottenham, Everton and Southampton. According to the Manchester Evening News, the Saints have emerged as the frontrunners in the race.

Garner is valued between £15million and £20million and sources have indicated to the publication in the past that that amount being quoted is a gross undervaluation of the young midfield dynamo’s talents.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl is building a young and hungry squad and Garner fits the model perfectly. The team from Saint Mary’s have already signed Manchester City academy graduates Gavin Bazunu and Romeo Lavia this summer.

Garner last played for the Red Devils back in 2019. Fans were devastated to learn that DoF John Murtough had sanctioned the sale of the Birkenhead-born footballer especially considering the lack of quality options available at Ten Hag’s disposal at the moment.

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