According to reports from The Athletic, Southampton are one of a number of clubs paying close attention to Brandon Williams ahead of the January transfer window.
Last term appeared to be something of a breakout campaign for the full-back as he made 19 starts for the Red Devils in the Premier League and the Europa League, but game-time has been much harder to come by this season.
The 20-year-old has lodged just 211 minutes of senior action so far, predominantly featuring in the Carabao Cup, and despite giving Luke Shaw a run for his money at left-back last season, he now has summer signing Alex Telles to contend with in the pecking order as well.
Southampton are reportedly monitoring the situation having been keen on signing Williams on loan during the summer, only for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to block the deal.
So, would Williams – who Transfermarkt value at £9.9m – be a shrewd addition for Saints or are Ralph Hasenhuttl and company in danger of committing a transfer gaffe?
GIVEMESPORT writers Jack Saville, Kobe Tong and Christy Malyan provide their answers to that question below…
“Williams looks like a shrewd signing for the Saints, whether it’s on loan or permanently.
“The United youngster already has 17 games of Premier League experience under his belt and would help Southampton deal with the busy New Year schedule with his flexibility playing on either defensive flank.
“But most importantly of all, Williams has the sort of indefatigable and swashbuckling approach that would fit hand in glove with Hassenhuttl’s side as they continue to punch above their weight.”
“I’m a massive fan of Williams and Southampton would be an ideal fit for him. Sometimes a player just has a natural energy about them – a relentless nippiness – and I put the young full-back firmly in that category.
“For whatever reason Solskjaer’s given him the cold shoulder this season but ultimately that could prove to be Southampton’s gain.
“His combination of pressing high and contributing offensively suits Hasenhuttl perfectly and while it’s not completely clear whether this would be a loan or a permanent transfer, Southampton do need to start thinking about a long-term successor to Ryan Bertrand.
“The England international’s contract expires at the end of the season, by which time he’ll be just a couple of months short of his 32nd birthday. Even if it’s a temporary move, a loan stint would serve as Williams’ audition.”
“Landing Williams would be a major boost for Hasenhuttl. The United youngster would have a hard time trying to displace the impressive Kyle Walker-Peters at right-back, but Williams is equally adept at left-back and has enough quality to rival Bertrand for his place in the starting XI.
“Given Williams is a natural right-footer Southampton would lose some width by subbing Bertrand out for the United prospect, but equally it could give Hasenhuttl an intriguing option and an alternative route to goal in the final third.
“If Solskjaer continues to snub United’s academy product, Saints should do everything it takes to secure the services of a prodigious young talent.”