Danny Simpson will be joining Blackburn Rovers on a season-long loan, following previous stints at Sunderland, Ipswich and Royal Antwerp.
Just as Tom Heaton and Febian Brandy have secured temporary moves away, to Cardiff and Swansea respectively, Simpson will be starting 2008-2009 with Paul Ince’s men down the road.
Whilst loan time away usually provides players with invaluable experience they would not get at United, it begs the question why Simpson isn’t ready to be introduced to our first team squad.
Simpson certainly seems more promising than Phil Bardsley, who tried and failed to break in to the United team as a full-back, and has got several hours of playing time under his belt in the pre-season.
Next season would have started with Simmo behind Gary Neville and Wes Brown in pecking order for the position, so it seems to make sense that Sir Alex Ferguson would offer him time away.
However, after selling Gerard Pique, United are rather exposed at the back. With Gary Neville still not sustaining fitness and Nemanja Vidic emerging as a bit of a ‘sick note’ last season (predominantly through his bravery, rather than his fragility), we are very thin defensively.
Whilst Owen Hargreaves showed himself as a decent right back, we shouldn’t be forced in to playing a talented holding midfielder as a full-back because of injuries. It’s good to know that in a worse case scenerio we can be covered, but we’re far too close to that scenerio at present. Injuries to Vidic and Neville see Brown in the centre and Hargreaves on the right. Having the option of Simpson would surely be a good thing?
Also, going on loan doesn’t necessarily result in something positive for the club or player. At the start of 2006, promising forward Giuseppe Rossi was loaned to Newcastle, in hope of him getting some valuable experience. However, between August and October, Rossi got just 6 games, just 2 of these for longer than 20 minutes. In total, he got 13 run outs in 4 months, the majority by far as a substitute, and nothing was really gained.
He never played for United again, sadly, and was sold on to Villarreal, where he’s just enjoyed a very successful début season.
Who knows whether Simpson has what it takes to play for United, but in his appearances last season, both in the league and Champions League, he seemed capable enough. Being loaned out at another Premiership club, particularly one that should be finishing inside the top 10, could prove to be an excellent move. However, with the money Blackburn are likely to give Ince considering his new appointment, there is no guarantee Simpson will even get a look in on the team, and could be better off with our Reserves/sporadic appearances with our first team.