Why the Next 12 Months Could Make or Break Timothy Fosu-Mensah's Man Utd Career

A 55th minute substitute for Marcos Rojo, Timothy Fosu-Mensah made his Manchester United debut in February 2016 under Louis van Gaal; the same game that fellow Premier League debutant Marcus Rashford scored twice in to beat Arsenal 3-2.

That appearance came two years after he joined the club from Ajax, where he quickly made a name for himself in United's youth setup. But while Rashford has since become United's John Cena, things have only gone downhill for Fosu-Mensah - whose career is more reminiscent of Hulk Hogan's forgettable run in TNA.

Fosu-Mensah made his Premier League debut at the same time as Rashford

Fosu-Mensah would continue to appear sporadically for Van Gaal's United following his debut, making appearances in league, cup and European competition into the 2016/17 season.

In order to continue developing at a high level, he would head out on loan to two Premier League clubs in his next two seasons. While his time at Crystal Palace in 2017/18 wasn't bad, Fosu-Mensah failed to set the world alight. A switch to Fulham for the 2018/19 campaign, however, was a disaster.

He made just 13 appearances for the Cottagers and always appeared shaky, as a poor Fulham side finished bottom of the league. To make matters worse, his season ended prematurely after he underwent knee surgery in April 2019.

Fosu-Mensah made 24 appearances in all competitions at Crystal Palace

Primarily a defender, the Dutchman can play as centre-back, right back or even in central midfield. A solid reader of the game with a crisp tackle, his versatility is also enticing to coaches at United. But now aged 22 and lacking any direction, it's hard to predict where Fosu-Mensah goes from here.

It's obvious that the injuries and inconsistencies he has dealt with in the last two or three years has completely zapped him of confidence. The lack of football has come at the worst time, too, meaning he's been lost in the shuffle within another Manchester United rebuild, at a time where he needs regular minutes. He's trapped at United and his career needs some direction once again.

Despite many thinking his time was up, United are actually keen on sticking by him. They triggered a one-year extension in his contract back in April, and now want him to sign another extended deal - the Telegraph reporting that the idea is tie him down beyond 2021 before sanctioning more loan moves.

With United's stance on Fosu-Mensah seems unwavering, the plan to send him out again on a temporary basis seems a smart move. But with Fosu-Mensah struggling in the Premier League last time out, and not having many minutes under his belt in the last 12 months, where should United look to loan him?

Fosu-Mensah's spell with Fulham proved disastrous

The logical option would be the Championship. Fosu-Mensah struggled with the pace of the Premier League, but now being older and wiser, he's had time to reflect and learn. A move to a top Championship side, looking to push for promotion perhaps, could be the revival he needs. Think Axel Tuanzebe to Aston Villa or Dean Henderson to Sheffield United.

However, the flip side is that this could be seen as a clear step down for the Dutchman. Once trusted with a loan in the top flight, relegating him to second tier football could actually knock his already fragile confidence further. The Championship is no pushover, either. While Tuanzebe and Henderson enjoyed their respective spells, it's not quite as easy as they made it look.

A left-field switch could be one that sees Fosu-Mensah move abroad temporarily. While the Bundesliga is the new fashionable option where football's cool kids go to play, there's no denying the quality of the league.

Young players get a regular chance to play senior football in a top European league where teams have a lot to fight for. His recent drop in stock might not guarantee him space at a top side, but a solid mid-table team could do the job.

Former Arsenal man Serge Gnabry turned his career around over in the Bundesliga

Failing that, the only other sensible option would be a quiet return to the Netherlands to play in the Eredivisie. A romantic loan return to Ajax - building up the confidence and maybe grabbing a trophy - before returning to United a better man is the ultimate love story here. It doesn't have to be a return to Amsterdam, though, as good as that would be; any move to a top Dutch side would guarantee him play time, even if the level of competition isn't quite as high.

There's no denying the natural ability of Timothy Fosu-Mensah but his career so far hasn't reflected it. Manchester United must get his next steps correct, if they intend on keeping him on the books. The next 12 months will no doubt make or break his future at Old Trafford.

Source : 90min