Timothy Fosu-Mensah is the next player in our player season review. His season has been a bit different than those of others, as the player left the club on loan in search of more playing time. He joined Crystal Palace, to strengthen options for Frank De Boer’s side. The Dutchman wanted him to be one of the pillars of defence, with his 3-4-3 formation and playing the ball from the back. However, De Boer did not stay there for long and Fosu-Mensah was caught up in an entirely different situation.
What do the numbers say?
To be precise, it is not like he suffered too much after De Boer left. Fosu-Mensah got some decent playing time under Roy Hodgson, as the English manager started improving the side that seemed doomed for relegation early into the season. The defender made 21 appearances in the league, and three more in domestic cup competitions. He made 17 starts in Premier League, notching a total of 1594 minutes. That is 17.71 full 90-minute matches which is just a little bit under a full half-season.
That is not so bad for a young player on loan at a club fighting to stay up for the bigger part of the season. Yet, it is noticeable that as the season was getting closer to an end, Fosu-Mensah played less and less. His finale match for Palace came on the last day of March, which was his only appearance for the club in that month.
Fosu-Mensah was making 2.4 tackles per 90 minutes, adding 1.8 interceptions to that as well. These are decent numbers, though it should be mentioned they can be skewed by the fact Palace often played direct football without much possession. He was making just 1.00 fouls per 90 minutes, with 3.7 clearances to go by.
Was he an important player for the club?
He was somewhat important for Crystal Palace. Jose Mourinho maybe wanted him to stay and maybe the player would have got similar amount of playing time – have in mind that United also played in Champions League, which means much more matches and more chances for resting Valencia – but the Dutch defender got to see how it looks like when you are fighting for a place at a struggling side.
Fosu-Mensah did occasionally show why he is coveted to be a very good player and he also got the chance to make a full Netherlands debut this season.
Projection for the 2018-19 season
It will be an interesting thing to see how things will pan out this summer. Will he enough space to prosper at Manchester United or will he feel at unease once again and willing to go out on loan? Much of it depends on what will the club do in the transfer market and will there be new signings in his position.
Mourinho could offer him playing time in cup competitions and here and there in the league, but that might not be enough for the youngster willing to play. My feeling at this point in time is that Fosu-Mensah still needs improving and should go out on loan, but should he decide to stay in Manchester, he will be a useful squad player.