A closer look at why Wan-Bissaka to United makes sense

Photo by The Telegraph

As a Manchester United fan, when is the last time you were able to sit back, look at the squad and say that we are set with a solid right back for the next decade? You would have to imagine that in the post-Gary Neville era, the answer for many may be never.

With the transfer window now open, United are in with a chance to perhaps finally secure the services of a man who will be able to nail down that position for years to come…and his name is Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Unsurprisingly, the young Englishman’s performances in the Premier League last season have attracted interest from the biggest clubs around Europe, but United have been the only club to approach Crystal Palace with concrete offers.

As of today, June 17th, Crystal Palace have rejected United’s latest offer of £50 million, but judging by the frequency of the rumors, it seems as though the teams and the player will come to an agreement sooner rather than later. 

With the 21-year-old currently away with the England U-21’s, preparing for their first game at the European Championships in Italy, it is likely that there will be no agreement or official announcement until England’s participation in the tournament comes to an end.

So, as the European Championships unfold, we, the fans, have plenty of time to dive nose first into all of the speculation and discuss the ways in which Wan-Bissaka could improve Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United side heading into the 2019/20 season:

Photo Credit: r/reddevils

As much as United have struggled with consistent offensive production down the right-hand side in recent years, the defensive aspect has arguably been even more of a problem. Coincidentally, defending has been something that Wan-Bissaka has excelled in since breaking into the Crystal Palace first team. 

Going over some of United’s most recent options, Rafael Da Silva had his flaws, but he was generally a solid right back until he was sold by Louis Van Gaal. Then, Matteo Darmian was brought in, and mostly performed well as a defensive full back, but he just did not offer enough going forward to solidify his position as the first-choice option. 

Moving onto the recent regulars, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young are converted wingers, who, credit where it’s due, have done a decent job over the years, and were tolerable options for the most part. But tolerable is not enough at any position at Manchester United. 

As time went on, Valencia’s legs eventually burned out, and despite improving dramatically over the years in terms of his positioning and defending, his age did not allow him to be his old up and down the line self, with injuries keeping him out of the rotation. 

As for Young, as much as he has been a liability a lot of the time as of late, he has been a great servant to the club. His commitment to playing essentially anywhere in order to help the team is admirable, and that cannot go unnoticed. But, with that being said, he is far from what the club needs at either side of the defence. 

As a right back, his positioning has often made him the culprit when the team conceded goals. He was also most often the target for the opposition wingers to run at, as his one on one defence leaves much to be desired. 

On the offensive end, there were times when he was a nuisance for the opposition full backs, but his end product has too long been far too inconsistent for the standard required at United; and as last season came to a close, it seemed as if Young’s legs were also no longer able to handle the week in week out workload at the Premier League and European levels. 

Lastly, United’s latest acquisition for the right back position, Diogo Dalot. The Portuguese, who is two years the junior of Wan-Bissaka, and who has at times shown glimpses of perhaps one day being able to become the regular full back. 

The issue with Dalot is that his best moments in a United shirt so far came going forward, playing as more of a winger, making many fans think that perhaps he is a better fit to be converted into an attacking player. It is clear when you watch Dalot play that he has a pull for attacking defenders. He is also capable of delivering a very dangerous ball from out wide. 

Combining his offensive upsides with the holes that he has shown on numerous occasions when asked to defend, perhaps the future for Dalot at United is forming a partnership with Wan-Bissaka down the right-hand side, playing further forward. 

With all of the issues at right back from over the years dished out above, it becomes clear what United are in desperate need of when it comes to that position: defensive stability and consistent contribution going forward. 

Despite being only 21, that is something that Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been able to provide at the Premier League level, and on a regular basis. 

Comparing his defensive stats to United’s most capped right back of last season (Young), Wan-Bissaka averaged 2 more tackles, 0.6 more interceptions, and 0.5 less fouls per game when defending last season. 

In addition, the England U-21 international notched up 1.8 more clearances and he was dribbled past 0.3 times less than Young over the course of the season. 

If you put those statistics from Wan-Bissaka’s first full season as a Premier League starter alongside his physical attributes, you get a defensively reliable full back who is also beginning to come into his own on the other end of the field (3 assists last season) at only 21.

Going after Wan-Bissaka is a no brainer for United, and it should only be a matter of time before Crystal Palace’s demands are met, and Manchester United are set at both full back positions for years to come. 

Author: TUD Author