Manchester United are struggling to shake off the injury crisis that has contributed to derailing Erik ten Hag’s second season in charge, with 13 senior stars currently out of contention for a range of reasons. And there is an expectation that Ten Hag could bolster his thinning squad by recalling an exciting talent from his loan stint.
United had little problem navigating past Wigan Athletic in Monday’s FA Cup third round, cruising to a comfortable 2-0 win at the DW Stadium.
But they were hit with three new absences from the squad; Antony was injured, while Christian Eriksen and Amad Diallo were ill.
It increased the number of injured United players to eight, three are down with illness and two for other reasons.
Reports have already claimed that Charlie McNeill is set to be recalled from his loan at Stevenage, having made just a handful of appearances for the League One promotion-chasers.
Ten Hag will reportedly evaluate where McNeill will conclude the season, with the 20-year-old in need of minutes to aid his development.
But United could be primed to recall another star with a more direct impact on the first-team squad amid the Dutchman’s relentless injury frustrations, particularly in defence.
According to the Mail, there is a growing sense of dread at Granada that United will terminate Alvaro Fernandez’s season-long loan this month.
It’s claimed that the Red Devils are weighing up their options as to how to manage Fernandez ahead of his contract expiry at the end of the campaign.
But figures within Granada fear the 20-year-old will return to Old Trafford in the coming weeks to offer Ten Hag another left-back option.
United triggered the break clause in Sergio Reguilon’s loan contract at the start of the year, sending him back to Tottenham Hotspur.
But Tyrell Malacia is yet to make an appearance this season as he steps up his recovery from two knee surgeries last year.
Meanwhile, Luke Shaw returned from a spell on the sidelines in December before suffering a fresh problem that has kept him out of the last three games.
Fernandez has impressed at Granada, just as he did on loan at Preston North End last season, being named the Championship club’s Young Player of the Year.
The Spain U21 international has made 14 appearances and six starts for Granada this term. He is yet to make his competitive United debut, and has previously stated his intention to do so after his spell in his homeland.
Ten Hag could feasibly pull the trigger on his return to M16 if Shaw or Malacia suffer their latest injury setback in the coming weeks.