James Wilson has always been touted as a promising star at parent club Manchester United. Scouted at the age of seven, he featured regularly at every age group in the Red Devils’ youth system.
He once scored five in one game for United’s under 18s in a fixture against Newcastle United. Performances like this seen his stock rise and in his first start for Manchester United, he scored twice in a 3-1 victory over Hull City. This is the highlight of Wilson’s career, with loan moves to Brighton, Derby County and Sheffield United proving unfruitful.
Despite this Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes decided to take a chance on the striker, agreeing a one-year loan deal with United that seen Wilson adopt Pittodrie as his home this season.
Again it hasn’t quite worked out the way everyone hoped, with the forward scoring just three goals in 25 appearances for the Dons. Despite this, Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes hasn’t ruled out a move for the attacker, telling the Press and Journal that Wilson “has his best years ahead of him”.
He won’t be at Old Trafford next year after the club decided against triggering a 12-month contract extension. This leaves the door open for a potential Dons return, but the Pittodrie side might be better off without the £1.35 million rated man.
The best for both parties
With the form of Sam Cosgrove, Wilson is unlikely to get ahead of him in the pecking order. For his development and career to move forward positively, he needs regular starts. This won’t happen at Pittodrie next season unless something drastically changes.
Never mind a starting spot, Wilson would be fighting for a spot on the bench every week. Bruce Anderson is tearing it up at Dunfermline and he’ll be back next season to stake his claim for a first team berth. With Stevie May still in the fold as well, someone will have to miss out a spot in the squad. That could be Wilson.
His performances this season also just haven’t been good enough. There is no denying he has raw talent but he looks so short of confidence. His last goal came against Hamilton on Halloween and he’s hardly looked like a frightening opponent since.
Wilson leaving Pittodrie for good in the summer may work out best for both parties. McInnes has three decent strikers for next season in the form of Cosgrove, Anderson and May, so the Manchester United loanee would perhaps benefit from playing regularly for a League One or Two side down south.
Aberdeen and Manchester United fans will no doubt be disappointed with how this move has panned out. Once filled with so much potential, Wilson looked like the real deal at one point in his career. He’s still only 23 so there’s plenty of time for a rebuild yet. That won’t be at Old Trafford though.
It also shouldn’t happen at Pittodrie.