Manchester United youngster Brandon Williams has reportedly entered the radar of Southampton, while Arsenal are trying to tie Folarin Balogun down to a new contract.
According to a report from The Athletic, Manchester United academy ace Brandon Williams could be on the move in the January transfer window, amid interest from fellow Premier League side Southampton.
Having come through the ranks at the club’s youth setup, the 20-year-old Williams burst onto the scenes last season, impressing onlookers with his energetic performances on the left side of the defence. The youngster racked up 36 senior appearances in his breakthrough campaign, managing a goal and two assists.
However, Williams hasn’t had the same exposure in the ongoing season following the summer arrival of Alex Telles. The Brazilian’s signing, coupled with Luke Shaw’s strong form prior to injury meant Williams has been relegated to just two first-team appearances, both of which came in the Carabao Cup.
This has opened up the possibility of the 20-year-old potentially going out on loan in the January transfer window, with Southampton showing an interest. The Saints had made an approach to sign Williams on loan in the summer and the youngster too was open to a switch, only for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to block the move.
Southampton, however, remain keen on the England U-21 international with manager Ralph Hasenhuttl looking to bolster his defensive ranks. And Williams, with his ability to play on both the right and left sides of the backline, would provide cover to both Kyle Walker-Peters and Ryan Bertrand.
But, the report goes on to add that Manchester United would be reluctant to sanction a move in January if Southampton are pushing for European qualification, as they would likely be strengthening a direct rival. As things stand, the Saints are fifth in the Premier League table. And should they still be there and thereabouts come January, United might not be open to the deal.
Given the lack of opportunities that are coming his way, a loan move would serve Williams well in order to help his development. It remains to be seen if the promising youngster will be sent out on a temporary deal in the winter window.
Arsenal reopen contract talks with Folarin Balogun
Moving from one talented English youngster to another, Arsenal are trying hard to tie down teenage sensation Folarin Balogun to a new contract with the club, as per The Athletic.
The 19-year-old is regarded as one of the finest young prospects to have come through the ranks at Arsenal in recent years. A centre-forward by trade, Balogun has been a prolific scorer throughout his youth career, bagging 38 goals in 41 games for the Arsenal U-18s and netting 16 times in 40 games for the U-23s.
Balogun made his senior debut for the Gunners in the 3-0 win over Dundalk in the UEFA Europa League in the ongoing campaign. The striker, though, is in the final year of his current contract with the North London giants and for a while, it has seemed like he would be on his way out of the club.
Indeed, talks over a new deal had broken down, leading to doubts over his future. Arsenal, though, have been intent on keeping the 19-year-old at the club, having turned down a £5 million bid from Brentford last January, while shutting down Sheffield United’s attempts to sign him this past summer.
It is claimed that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is keen on ensuring that Balogun signs a new deal and stays put. And after having integrated the teenager into the first-team squad, the club has now reinitiated talks over a new contract. With Balogun’s current deal expiring in June, he will be open to negotiate with foreign clubs over a free transfer in the summer.
Considering that he has to contend with competition from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah as well as Gabriel Martinelli for a starting berth at Arsenal, it will be interesting to see if the teenager decides to prolong his stay at the Emirates.