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Five players who should seek a loan before the transfer deadline

by Colm Murphy

With the January transfer window nearing a close, it is not only the time from incoming signings but also the reverse, as players head for the exit in search of playing time.

Recent weeks have already seen Shola Shoretire, Charlie Savage and Maxi Oyedele secure moves but below we look at a further five United players who should be looking to follow suit and very well may do so before the deadline.

Zidane Iqbal

Erik ten Hag has suggested Iqbal may stay at Old Trafford but the young midfielder would massively benefit from a spell away from the club.

Spending the season so far in limbo, Iqbal impressed in pre-season and earned a spot in first team training but has yet to make a single appearance.

Despite some recent cup matches against lower league opposition, Ten Hag opted to leave the Iraqi international on the bench against Charlton and didn’t even include him in the matchday squad for last night’s fixture with Reading.

As the season approaches the tail end with no easy fixtures, there looks to be little opportunity for Iqbal to be bedded in, especially as 17 year old Kobbie Mainoo has grabbed his chance to move ahead in the pecking order.

Making only nine appearances for the u21s this season, Iqbal is in desperate need of playing time at any level.

A technically skilled midfielder, dealing with the physicality and pace of the game has always been the 19 year old’s biggest struggle even during his time in the u18s.

Therefore, getting up to speed with senior football will take a good string of appearances which will only be possible with a loan. Due to his slow and technical style of play, Ten Hag’s connections in the Netherlands would provide the perfect training ground for the young midfielder.

Axel Tuanzebe

Having just returned to training from a lengthy injury, any move could be pushing it tight for the defender but should be sought.

Well down the pecking order of an already deep list of centre back options for Ten Hag, Tuanzebe has little future at United and is set to leave the club at the expiry of his contract in the summer.

At 25 Tuanzebe is still yet to reach 100 senior appearances after a string of injury lay-offs in recent years.

Unsuccessful loans at Aston Villa and Napoli last season mean that there is a danger that the centre back’s once glittering prospects are fizzling out.

As a result, a move to the Championship on loan or a permanent sale could be on the cards with interest previously touted from Watford.

Di’Shon Bernard

Another centre back who has had his injury struggles this season, Bernard returned to training in November. He has since made three appearances for the u21s and has been training with the first team at times.

Over the u21 age limit and not registered in the Premier League squad though, the youngster has little chance of making his way into Ten Hag’s plans even in the event of an injury crisis due to his ineligibility.

Bernard has already experienced two successful loans with the most recent coming with Hull City in the Championship last season. Another move looked likely in the summer but was scuppered by injury.

With his return to fitness now, a Championship move should be in his sights in the coming days and having been left out of the u21s match on Friday, signs suggest it may already be in the works.

Noam Emeran

Injury struggles have also been a regular feature of Noam Emeran’s time in Manchester.

Signing a new contract at the end of last season, a loan move in the summer was expected before he unfortunately suffered another injury setback.

Returning to full fitness at the end of October, Emeran has been a regular with the u21s since but having made his debut at the level over two years ago, the winger’s time has come to step into senior football.

Netting in style for the u21s on Friday, the 20 year old was reported to have had interest from Germany and his native France in the summer, but there has been no news in January.

But whether it is on the continent or down the leagues in England, a spell in senior football until the end of the season would benefit the young winger.

Bjorn Hardley

Last is Bjorn Hardley. The Dutch defender who is comfortable at centre back and left back has been a regular feature for the u21s for the past year and a half, notching up 46 appearances.

At 20 years old, Hardley is experienced at the u21s level but has yet to feature in senior football and a loan move would see spots open up in the u21s for the talented group of centre backs in the u18s to step into.

Strong in the air and cultured with the ball at his feet, the former NAC Breda defender would be a useful pickup for any progressive thinking manager in League One or possibly back in the Netherlands.

The Manchester Evening News report a loan move is possible, but there has been no news of a potential destination.

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