The future of James Garner is likely to be a big talking point amongst both Manchester United and Nottingham Forest fans this summer.
The midfielder has come on leaps and bounds this season, making 32 appearances in the Sky Bet Championship in his first season away from Old Trafford on loan.
The 20-year-old has made 12 of those appearances for Nottingham Forest, and despite playing 21 times in all competitions for Watford in the first half of the season, it’s his spell at the City Ground which has been more beneficial.
Garner has played his best football in a Forest shirt, establishing himself as a key player under Chris Hughton. The midfielder picked up the Man of the Match award in his most recent performance – a 1-1 draw with Brentford in West London – and even carried the captain’s armband for the final 20 minutes after Lewis Grabban was taken off.
United will be delighted with their young midfielder’s development this season, and a decision will have to be made on his future this summer.
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Garner isn’t likely to be a regular starter under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and according to the Athletic, United are open to letting him leave the club on loan once again next season.
But, unfortunately for Forest, United would prefer Garner to be playing in the Premier League, which is a stance that not many would disagree with given his level of performances and the fact that he will have played over 40 times at this level come the end of the season.
In 2021/22, Forest will be playing in the Championship for another season. If Chris Hughton can sell the Reds’ ambition to United next season, then they may have a slight chance of him returning to the City Ground, and you get the feeling that if he was sent back out to the Championship, Forest would be at the front of the queue.
There is also a bigger feeling, though, that he has surpassed this level and is ready for a bigger challenge.