May 16, 2019
It was reported in the media on Thursday that Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was planning a £50 million swoop for Crystal Palace duo Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Patrick Van Aanholt this summer as the Norwegian manager wanted to bolster his defence and both fullbacks were in demand.
It has been reported many times that Wan-Bissaka, 21, is high on the clubs list of transfers this summer, although Palace is keen to keep the player this summer and in previous interviews, the player has not suggested a desire to leave, however, most do not. Manchester City is also said to be interested in the right-back.
With Antonio Valencia’s departure this summer and the fact that Ashley Young has been poor for the majority of the season, let alone the fact that Diogo Dalot is largely inexperienced, the prospective signing of Wan-Bissaka seems to be well thought out. United have just one left-back also; Luke Shaw, the clubs Player of the Year award winner, which adds problems for the manager with no other options to fall back on.
Van Aanholt, 28, is also said to be on the list with only one left-back in United’s squad, which does not add much competition for places or cover for injuries. This season, Young has featured instead of Shaw at times, which is not the best thing to rely on. Having another experienced left-back would be beneficial for United. The 28-year-old has two years left on his current contract at Palace. He has also been linked to both Juventus and Roma this summer.
The question is; would both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Patrick Van Aanholt fit in at United? Personally, I have my doubts about Van Aanholt based on his age. However, that does not mean anything is unlikely to happen. Shaw is 23 and despite already spending five seasons at United, it just effectively starting out after enduring an injury-free season after that horror injury. Having an experienced player, who could help him to learn, could be beneficial. Van Aanholt was part of Chelsea’s academy so is classed as a homegrown player, if those regulations are a reason for the player being targeted.
Wan-Bissaka would definitely be a player that United would be interested in. With a lack of wide players at the club, it has been left to the fullbacks to provide the said width. Young cannot cross a ball to his man all that often, his pace has gone and sticking with that for another season would mean more regression in the squad. Dalot has
Wan-Bissaka played 3,135 minutes of football last season in the Premier League, making 35 appearances, also providing three assists. Whilst this is not a great attacking stat, it is exactly what United will be looking for. The 21-year-old averaged 3.7 tackles, 2.4 interceptions, 3.7 clearances and 0.5 blocks last season and that was just his defensive actions. Offensively, he averaged 1.7 dribbles, 0.4 key passes, and 0.3 shots per game. Defensively, he is sound, offensively, there might be more for his to offer, but saying that, if a right-winger played ahead of him, his role would be to defend and maybe overlap if the need arose.
Van Aanholt played 3,198 minutes of football in the Premier League last season, making 36 appearances, scoring three goals and providing a further two assists. The 28-year-old averaged 1.3 tackles, 1.1 interceptions, 2.3 clearances and 0.3 blocks, also averaging 1.3 shots per game, 0.6 dribbles and one key pass. Arguably, both players could raise the game of this United squad, adding valuable experience and cover in both fullback positions.
As Premier League champions Manchester City are also said to be interested in Wan-Bissaka, it has to be said that he would become the first-choice option at United, ahead of both Dalot and Young. However, at City, he would be playing second-fiddle to Kyle Walker, which after starting the majority of matches at Palace, would not be beneficial for the 21-year-old. In my opinion, at least. United, I am not saying this because I support the club, would be the better option for footballing reasons.
The reports stated that United reckon that a deal could be done with Palace for both fullbacks, but that seems to be the opinion of the writer and these reports do not tend to have anything negative attached to them. In order for Palace to do a deal, they would need to have replacements already sorted, as they seem to do their transfer business the right way, whilst United tend not to show that they have planned anything, at least that is how it looks at times.
Whether this happens though depends on a few factors; whether United are in fact interested in any or both of these players, whether Palace is interested in selling one or both, also is a suitable fee could be agreed upon for the deal to be concluded. We shall see what happens in the coming weeks. The transfer window for domestic players has opened today, so if there is anything to this, any