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Brandon Williams vs Alvaro Fernandez: Who should Manchester United keep this summer?

by Mathew Cohen

Both young players that have attracted interest from several clubs this summer, Brandon Williams and Alvaro Fernandez are two left-backs who are hoping to achieve a breakthrough in their Manchester United careers this season.

While Williams remains a firm target for Leeds United, Fernandez is attracting interest from Burnley and Real Betis, showing that both young left-backs’ talents haven’t gone unnoticed.

Still, with Man United potentially in the market to sign the likes of central midfielder Sofyan Amrabat and a new centre-back such as Benjamin Pavard, United may need to offload one of these young fullbacks as they look to free up some much-needed transfer funds.

What’s more, with both Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia higher in the pecking order, it wouldn’t be realistic for both of these players to enjoy the moment in the spotlight.

The question is, between Williams and Fernandez, which player is more deserving of another season at Old Trafford while the other is sold this summer?

Last season, Williams racked up just 350 minutes of football across four Premier League 2 matches for the Red Devils.

This is a far less prominent performance than in 2021/22 when the former England U21 player appeared in 26 Premier League matches for Norwich City.

While he was able to guide his team to a 2-1 win over Liverpool while captaining his team to a clean sheet in a goalless draw with Crystal Palace in 2022/23, he also served as United’s captain in a 3-1 loss to Chelsea as well as a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City.

Although his minutes were severely limited due to injury, one can only work with the statistics that exist, meaning that there were not many bright moments to reflect on from the 22 year old’s previous campaign.

Williams was able to increase his minutes during United’s preseason tour, appearing in fixtures against Leeds United, Lyon, Arsenal, and Real Madrid.

Still, the Englishman never hit flying form, with his best performance arguably coming against Arsenal, when he won two of two ground duels and made two interceptions while also blocking a shot. (Sofascore)

Fernandez’s previous season proved far more eventful, with the Spaniard spending the last campaign at Preston North End.

Making 42 appearances in all competitions for Preston, Fernandez established himself as the team’s fullback of choice, providing six assists as he lifted his team to a 12th-placed finish in the Championship.

The 20 year old continued his fine form as he returned to United in the pre-season.

He was one of United’s few impressive players during the 3-0 loss to Wrexham on the U.S. Tour, completing 39 of his 46 passes while showing great physicality by winning seven of his 11 total duels.

Fernandes also performed decently during United’s final pre-season game against Athletic Bilbao, winning five of his eight duels and making a team-leading seven interceptions.

There is no doubt that Williams is a talented player, which is why Daniel Farke, who was Norwich boss during his 2021/22 loan, wants him now at Leeds United. But it’s Fernandez who proved to be the more explosive player throughout the course of last season as well as throughout the pre-season.

Leeds’ interest means that United may just be able to engineer a sale before transfer deadline day.

Considering recent form and overall consistency, Fernandez seems like the player that United should hold onto, while the sale of Williams would help to fund one final transfer for United this summer.

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