Manchester United youngster D’Mani Mellor has signed for Salford City on a season-long loan deal.
The 20-year-old, who can operate out wide as well as through the middle, has joined the League Two side for the duration of the 2021/22 campaign.
Salford have a close connection with United, but not just because of the club’s location.
It’s co-owners are six former United players from the ‘Class of 92’ including Gary Neville and David Beckham.
Mellor – who has already made his senior debut in the Europa League – becomes the third loan signing from United since Salford’s promotion to the EFL in 2019.
And it’s fair to say the two previous deals couldn’t have worked out more differently.
First, the good. Di’Shon Bernard spent the 2020-21 campaign on loan at the Peninsula Stadium after United sanctioned a temporary switch there.
He would go on to make 31 appearances, scoring two goals as City fell just short of the League Two play-offs.
Looking back on his loan spell there, Bernard said: “I played a lot of games and just developed a lot as a player. To be fair, I’m just happy I took the step to come out on loan instead of just staying in the under-23s as I’ve definitely developed as a player and learned a lot of new things.
“First-team football was definitely something I needed. It comes to a point where the under-23s was no longer a test [for me] and you need to go out and play men’s football to test your ability.
“I think I’ve coped well in League Two. I’ve come up against a lot of different players and I think I’ve done well, to be honest.
“League Two is definitely a league where you see a lot of aerial balls but it’s showed me football is not always about the nice parts on the floor, playing out from the back. Teams can hoof it long and play off second balls, yet still dominate and win the game. It’s definitely something I’ve learned and I’ve coped well with it. You come up against big strikers, small strikers, and the big ones are the most difficult! But it’s been a good test and I’ve coped well really.”
Bernard has certainly benefited from the experience and is now playing two divisions higher, after he was loaned out to Hull City for the current season.
Prior to Bernard’s loan arrangement, Salford signed another United player when George Tanner arrived in January 2020.
The full-back arrived with a burgeoning reputation after playing 29 times for Morecambe earlier that season.
But Tanner’s spell with the Ammies never got going. He failed to make a single appearance during his time there, which of course saw the season halted early due to Covid.
Manager Graham Alexander did not even select Tanner in a matchday squad during his time at the club.
It ended well for Tanner though, despite his release by the Red Devils in the summer of 2020. He joined Carlisle and would go on to score against Salford in a 1-1 draw last season.
His impressive performances for the Cumbrians then saw Championship side Bristol City swoop for him this week for a fee understood to be in the region of £300,000.
Despite that happy ending, Mellor will be looking to follow in Bernard’s footsteps as he looks to make positive inroads in what he hopes will be a long and successful career.
Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip