Manchester United’s season ended last month and the club’s 13 different loaners have all returned.

Not all loan deals have worked well with United on loan out a total of 16 players in the 2020-21 season.

As part of our review of the 2020/21 season, we have selected the best loan contracts in the bunch and selected our top 7, which are counted down to one …

7) Dylan Levitt to NK Istra

Levitt only played nine games on loan at NK Istra but that was enough to get him into the 2020 Welsh Euro squad.

United deserves some credit for this move as they found a club for Levitt after the English transfer window closed. United used the Croatian deadline three weeks later and found Levitt a club for the second half of the season.

The goal was to get Levitt into the fight for the EM and it worked. He even helped NK Istra reach the Croatian Cup final but missed the game due to injury and his team lost.

(Photo by Ben Early – AMA / Getty Images)

6) Di’Shon Bernard to Salford

Moving to the second division turned out to be the right move for Bernard, who ended up playing under three different managers at Salford.

Bernard played a total of 32 games in excess of 2,600 minutes, an invaluable first-team experience for the 20-year-old.

5) Ethan Laird to MK Dons

Laird got off to a bad start to the season after suffering an injury in his first academy game. It underscored fears that United, despite their talent, was too vulnerable to injury.

So it was a really positive surprise that Laird adapted to first-team football with no fitness issues, loaned to MK Dons.

Laird played 25 games and provided four assists in 2021 alone. He will likely get a championship level or higher loan now.

(Photo by Justin Setterfield / Getty Images)

4) Diogo Dalot to AC Milan

Dalot’s move to AC Milan was a bit risky as Milan already had good options as a full-back.

He wasn’t doing enough to truly earn a first-team reputation at United the next season, hence his ties to Kieran Trippier, but he should have made his exit from Old Trafford and made some money for the club in the process.

Not all loans are about developing for the first team; others aim to eventually generate a fee for players the coach has no plans for. Dalot played a total of 33 games for Milan and United was able to win back around £ 10-15m for him in the summer.

3) Mengy week to Derby County

How often do you see an 18 year old central defender on loan to a championship club and not looking out of place?

Teden Mengi is a brilliant prospect and while he has yet to develop and improve his game, the championship is a good place to learn on the job.

Wayne Rooney is believed to be interested in getting Mengi back to the Derby next season. Therefore, Mengi’s loan was a success there, as it also suggests a path for the next season that United is likely to take.

Stoke City v Derby County - Sky Bet Championship (Photo by Jon Hobley / MI News / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

2) Jesse Lingard to West Ham

Jesse Lingard was brilliant at West Ham and made Manchester United look a little silly because he couldn’t find a way to use him better.

Lingard thrived in a pressure-free environment, scoring nine goals in 16 games.

The only reason Lingard isn’t number one is because the result here will simply be a financial win for United, and not the midfielder returning to improve the club’s first team next season. Lingard and United won’t be short of offers this summer.


1) James Garner to Nottingham Forest

Number one is James Garner, who completed a total of 41 appearances at the championship level last season.

After a decent but unspectacular stint at Watford that predictably collapsed when their manager was fired, Garner was sent to Nottingham Forest instead and impressed immediately.

Garner had Forest supporters who praised his every move and helped his cause by scoring against their rival Derby.

Forest would like Garner back, but United should really have bigger plans for the midfielder than another league move.

Garner will have the chance to impress in the pre-season for United and could deserve a chance to play in the first team depending on transfer moves. If that doesn’t work, a loan move to another Premier League club should be the alternative.

Wycombe Wanderers v Notts Forest - Sky Bet Championship (Photo by Jon Hobley / MI News / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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