Crystal Palace have confirmed the signing of Manchester United defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah on a season-long loan deal.
The former Ajax teenager links up again with Frank de Boer and will go straight into the Palace squad for the season opener against Huddersfield Town on Saturday. He has trained with new team-mates for the majority of the week and is raring to go after a full pre-season with United.
Fosu-Mensah told the official Palace website: “The manager spoke to me about coming down to join Crystal Palace and it was clear that he wanted me to be part of his squad which as a player gives you a great feeling straight away and I must now repay that back by putting in some good performances for the club.”
The Dutchman becomes de Boer’s third summer signing as he overhauls the team with his new blueprint. Speaking in response to capturing Fosu-Mensah, the Palace manager was pleased with the versatility the 19 year old would offer his side.
“Timothy is a player who has great pace and incredible physical ability. In today’s game you need players with strength and speed and he is an individual with that and as well as defence can also play in midfield.
“From knowing him at Ajax I can remember he was always playing in the team above for his age due to be physically very strong. His quality attracted a number of other clubs and I was very sad and disappointed when we lost him at a young age to go to Manchester United.”
De Boer has closely been monitoring Fosu-Mensah since his move to Old Trafford in 2014, and isn’t surprised by his progress into the first-team. Contrary to expectation from Palace fans, it seems more likely the United man will be used as the right-sided centre-back instead of the seemingly vacant right-wing back role.
“Under Louis Van Gaal a couple of years ago he made his debut and I have been keeping a check on his progress and he’s ready to play game in the Premier League and that is why I am pleased to have brought him to Crystal Palace.
“I am seeing him in our system as a right centre back but he can also play full back in a 4-3-3. It is always nice as a manager to have a player who can play in more than one position so that you get the quality across the squad.”
Fosu-Mensah will wear the number 24 shirt for the forthcoming season and he isn’t entirely a stranger to the Palace squad. Eagles assistant boss Orlando Trustfull was a key figure in his development through troubled times in the Ajax youth system.
He said of Trustfull: “I had good times there but I remember I found it difficult to start with and Orlando helped me enormously on and off the pitch and looking back to those days, even though I am still young, I have certainly changed from how I was in those days.
“Player wise I know Jairo, Patrick and also Reuben and Jason Lokilo from playing against him when I was at the Ajax academy.”
Talking of his experiences at United and the years following his arrival as a 16 year old from Ajax, Fosu-Mensah is proud of his progress but well aware he has a long way to go.
“In the early stages after I joined I found it difficult to settle but I soon got to know a lot of the players and it was not long before I felt at home.
“It has been very good for my development and they have a manager in Jose Mourinho who creates a winning mentality and he has really helped my progress.
“ Here at Palace I am looking forward to playing games on a regular basis and develop my game and I will listen to the management team as I am eager to learn every single day”.
An extremely promising signing for Palace considering his strong involvement in a United team full of expensive, experienced individuals. His versatility in defence and midfield should leave us with more squad depth and an eye on the future. Let’s hope he has a blinder but somehow we keep this incredible prospect. COYP.