Why Southampton should sign Brandon Williams on loan in January
According to a recent report from Sky Sports (h/t Hampshire Live), Southampton had made an enquiry over a potential loan deal for Manchester United left-back Brandon Williams before the international summer deadline. However, a temporary switch to St. Mary’s failed to materialise after the Red Devils sought assurances regarding the youngster’s game time.
Well, that was before United completed a deadline day swoop for Brazilian international Alex Telles to bolster their left-back ranks. The former FC Porto star is now expected to compete with Luke Shaw and Williams for a spot in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Brandon Williams caught the eye for United’s U-18 side and also featured for the U-19s in the UEFA Youth League before making a big impression for the U-23s at the Premier League 2 level.
The highly-rated left-back was handed his senior debut in an EFL Cup tie against Rochdale in September last year and Williams went on to make 36 appearances across all competitions for the Red Devils over the course of an impressive debut season at Old Trafford last term, registering a goal and 2 assists in the process.
Having previously represented England at the U-20 level, Williams recently made his U-21 debut for the Three Lions in a 3-3 draw against Andorra.
Southampton need more depth at left-back
Ryan Bertrand has been an undisputed starter for Southampton at left-back over the past six seasons following his move to St. Mary’s from Chelsea in 2014. The England international remains a key cog in the Saints’ backline but Ralph Hasenhuttl needs to consider reducing the workload on him, considering that he’s 31 now.
However, Southampton currently lack a reliable back-up in that department, with academy prospect Jake Vokins the only specialist understudy to Bertrand. Hence, a potential injury to the veteran somewhere down the line would render the Saints seriously short of cover.
Brandon Williams, to that end, presents a young and exciting option for Southampton. The 20-year-old showed strong signs of promise at Man United in the PL last season and pursuing a loan deal for the Red Devils starlet in the summer would provide the Saints with some valuable cover at left-back.
The arrival of Telles at Old Trafford could well have a negative impact on Williams’ game time, considering that Shaw presents a more established and experienced option on the left. Hence, Southampton shouldn’t hesitate to revisit their interest in the England U-21 international when the transfer window reopens in January, provided Williams finds himself down the pecking order at his parent club.
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Ralph Hasenhuttl is right up there with the best when it comes to maximising the potential of young players and it would be a real treat to see someone like Brandon Williams furthering his development under his watchful eyes.
It all depends on Man United but Southampton should definitely test their resolve with another loan approach for the youngster in January to sort out their squad depth issues at left-back.