Why Watford signing James Garner on loan makes complete sense
The 19-year-old had emerged as a loan target for several Championship clubs, including Huddersfield Town, with United keen to provide him with more regular minutes away from Old Trafford. (h/t Daily Mail)
However, the Hornets ultimately had the final say in the transfer battle involving Garner after Vladimir Ivic’s side moved quickly to strike an agreement with the Red Devils.
Born in Birkenhead, James Garner joined Manchester United’s youth set-up at the U-8 level and progressed swiftly through the ranks to feature for the U-18s towards the end of the 2016-17 campaign.
The highly-rated central midfielder rose to prominence in the U-18 Premier League during the 2017-18 season before making the transition to the U-23s in the following campaign. Garner was handed his senior professional debut for the Red Devils by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in a Premier League fixture against Crystal Palace in February 2019.
The teenager made only 6 first-team appearances for United last season but he was a regular for the U-23 side, scoring 8 goals in 10 outings in the Premier League 2 Division 2.
Garner would add more depth to Watford’s midfield
It has been a summer of transition for Watford, who have already sold some of their high-profile players following their return to the second tier. Abdoulaye Doucoure is amongst those to have completed an exit from Vicarage Road, depleting the club’s midfield of some real quality.
Etienne Capoue, who has been a mainstay of Watford’s midfield for several years, is also expected to secure an exit before the deadline amid reported interest from Valencia. To that end, Watford need a reshuffling of their options in the middle and the arrival of James Garner on loan is certainly going to help their cause.
The 19-year-old might not have too much first-team experience under his belt but he remains a fine young talent with potential. Hence, a drop-down in level to the Championship should make a transition to senior professional football a lot smoother as far as the teenager is concerned.
Garner’s arrival is expected to replenish Watford’s squad depth in the middle of the park, which could be a decisive factor for any promotion-chasing side over the course of a hectic 46-game league campaign. Add to that, the rigors of the FA Cup and League Cup, meaning that the 19-year-old could play a key role for the Hornets if he manages to impress Vladimir Ivic.
A loan move to Watford presents just the perfect opportunity for James Garner to prove his worth in the Championship and stake a claim for a first-team place at United next season. The 19-year-old certainly won’t be guaranteed a starting role at Watford, with more established midfielders like Nathaniel Chalobah, Will Hughes, Tom Cleverly, and Domingos Quina all in the ranks.
However, considering his potential and from what we have seen of him at United so far, Garner seems more than capable of thriving at Vicarage Road. All in all, this is a move that should work out well for all parties involved.