Wan-Bissaka will be right one for United

Pacy right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, a product of the Crystal Palace academy, is a boyhood fan of his new club Manchester United. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Pacy right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, a product of the Crystal Palace academy, is a boyhood fan of his new club Manchester United. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Neville praises £50m, 21-year-old right-back, Solskjaer's second signing, as massive talent

LONDON • Manchester United yesterday agreed a £50 million (S$85.8 million) deal to sign Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace on a long-term contract.

According to a report in the BBC, the England Under-21 defender, who is known to be a boyhood fan of the Red Devils, is set to travel to Old Trafford for a medical examination shortly.

Wan-Bissaka, 21, who started 35 Premier League games last season as Palace finished 12th, is considered to be one of the hottest prospects in English football.

The right-back's defensive soundness should put United fans at ease after Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Matteo Darmian, Victor Lindelof and Antonio Valencia all failed to convince in that position last term.

According to BT Sport, Wan-Bissaka had the most clearances and interceptions, won the most tackles and had the highest tackling success rate of any full-back in the league.

The Palace academy product will be United's second arrival in the close season as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to overhaul his squad after a disappointing sixth-placed league finish.

They have already signed 21-year-old Wales forward Daniel James from Championship side Swansea for an initial £15 million.

  • WAN-BISSAKA'S STANDING AMONG PREMIER LEAGUE FULL-BACKS IN 2018-19

  • MOST CLEARANCES  -  129

    MOST TACKLES WON  - 129

    MOST TAKE-ONS COMPLETED  - 90

    MOST INTERCEPTIONS - 84

Wan-Bissaka, like James, is pacy and has a rawness Solskjaer hopes to mould as he bids to drive the team forward next season.

The Norwegian is still thought to be targeting several other signings, including a centre back - Leicester's Harry Maguire is in the frame - another full-back, a midfielder and a forward. French World Cup-winning midfielder Paul Pogba and Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku both wish to depart and it may be that Solskjaer has to generate funds from their sales - or others - before he can add more than a second new face.

Pundits have backed Wan-Bissaka to become an immediate hit despite his huge price tag.

Former United captain Gary Neville hailed him as "a massive talent", adding: "The club, to be fair, have always signed young, emerging British talent. I don't think that should change and it would seem to me that the club would like to go back down that route and he is one.

"The price is always going to be big because clubs are wise now to it. You can't pinch players off clubs for £5 million or £6 million."

Former Palace forward Neil Shipperley told Love Sport Radio that the move was "good business" for the Eagles, adding: "It's a great deal for the club.

"This is football at the moment. He's a great player but, at the end of the day, he's a right-back.

"He's not a centre midfielder or a centre forward like Wilf (Zaha)."

But former Manchester City defender Danny Mills told the same radio station that fans should temper their expectations as United were "buying potential" .

He said: "Of course, things can go wrong. You try and do as much due diligence as you can, watch as many of his games as possible, find out about his character, what he's like.

"As they've seen with Alexis Sanchez through ludicrous wages, it does become a gamble.

"But this is the stage that United have got themselves into - having to pay over the odds for young players because they're in a desperate situation."

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2019, with the headline 'Wan-Bissaka will be right one for United'. Print Edition | Subscribe