His spell at Watford may have been a quiet one but Manchester United midfielder James Garner has been turning heads while on loan at Nottingham Forest in the second half of the season.
The 20-year-old has quickly become a key man in Chris Hughton’s midfield – showing both his defensive tenacity and his quality going forward.
The Reds may struggle to bring him back on loan next term, however, as his agent recently revealed that Brighton, Rangers, and Premier League side in-waiting Norwich City are all keen.
Daniel Farke’s Canaries are on course to bounce straight back up to the top flight in style and are eight points clear at the summit of the Championship table after their 7-0 hammering of Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night.
With another Premier League season on the horizon, we’ve outlined what the impact of Garner’s arrival may be in the summer…
A replacement for Oliver Skipp
Replacing the Tottenham loanee looks as though it could be one of Norwich’s key tasks in the summer.
Skipp joined the club ahead of the 2020/21 campaign and has been integral for the Canaries, managing the game from midfield and helping the attackers ahead of him to impress.
Reports earlier this year suggested that Spurs had turned down Norwich’s early attempts to bring the 20-year-old back on loan for the 2021/22 campaign but signing Garner would help them solve that problem.
Both are all-action central midfielders that are comfortable going forward and backward, as well as playing in tight spaces.
If Norwich do sign Garner, it could be the ideal replacement for Skipp.
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Adding a hungry young player to their squad
Should United decide they want to loan Garner out to another Premier League club next term, the midfielder will no doubt be hungry to prove to the Red Devils that he’s good enough to cut it in the top tier of English football.
That should be a real boost for the Canaries, who will be landing a player full of determination and drive – and one that has shown at Forest how happy he is to buy into a loan club.
From Farke’s perspective, having a player with that sort of attitude will surely be a major boost.
More financial flexibility to improve the squad in other areas
There’s been a lot of transfer talk concerning a number of Norwich’s key players ahead of the summer, with the likes of Emi Buendia and Max Aarons seemingly not short of suitors.
Landing Garner on loan shouldn’t be too expensive of a deal and as discussed previously should mean they don’t have to focus too much energy on replacing Skipp.
That would leave them with more financial flexibility to improve their squad in other areas, including finding replacements should some of their current star players leave.