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Crystal Palace are now Favourites to Sign €25m Rated Manchester United Defender On Loan

Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Crystal Palace, AS Roma

According to reports, Crystal Palace have become favourites to secure the signature of Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Manchester United. Manager Patrick Vieira is looking to bolster his squad this summer and signing the former Eagles right-back might be a potential option to solidify the defence.

Since arriving from Palace in 2019, the English defender has made 89 Premier League appearances for the Red Devils so far, scoring two goals and assisting 8 times (stats via Transfermarkt). United thought their right-back issues were solved when they spent a hefty sum of around £50 million to bring in AWB.

The 24-year-old was a regular under former United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, making 115 appearances across all competitions in two-and-a-half seasons. But Wan-Bissaka failed to perform at the expected level in the recently concluded season, and Diogo Dalot seems to be still in need of an upgrade.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Manchester United, Crystal Palace
Image Obtained via Sports Illustrated

Since interim manager Ralf Rangnick took over after the sacking of Solskjaer, 23-year-old Dalot has been given preference over the English full-back. The reason behind this decision was the lack of attacking contributions from Wan-Bissaka.

It was reported in May that the Eagles are interested in bringing Wan-Bissaka back to Selhurst Park this summer. Moreover, there were reports of United wanting to offload the right-back, with the player being told to look for clubs.

Meanwhile, AS Roma manager Jose Mourinho is looking forth to a major squad overhaul and identified the United defender as a potential target. However, the Red Devils’ asking price for the defender seem to have scared the Italian club away.

Now, according to 90min, Crystal Palace are leading the race and are firm favourites to sign Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Manchester United. The London club want the English right-back on a temporary basis and the Red Devils are willing to accept a loan deal.

If a deal goes through, then AWB will be the latest to leave after Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Edinson Cavani and Juan Mata all departed this month. United are yet to sign a new player but will be eager to replace the outgoing players as quickly as possible.

Wan Bissaka’s Early Career At Crystal Palace

Aaron Wan-Bissaka was a member of the Crystal Palace academy from the age of 11 and signed a professional contract with the club in December 2016. On February 25, 2018, he made his senior debut for the Eagles against Tottenham due to multiple injuries in the first-team. The match ended in a 1–0 defeat.

The 24-year-old burst onto the scene properly in the 2018/19 season at Selhurst Park, becoming known for his exceptional 1v1 defending and great tackling skills. These qualities were marketed to their full potential because then manager Roy Hodgson used suitable tactics which accentuated his defending ability against strong opponents.

He was primarily responsible for maintaining his position in the back-four and then pressing any opponent who came into his zone. Since the Palace defence was constantly under pressure, a defensive-minded player like Wan-Bissaka looked like a world-class player because of his tackles and blocks. At the end of the 2018-19 campaign, Wan-Bissaka was named the Crystal Palace Player of the Year for his exceptional displays throughout a difficult season for the club.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Image obtained via Instagram/@awbissaka

When he joined United, the fans knew what to expect from him defensively and his place in the team was confirmed immediately. Wan-Bissaka’s offensive traits were much more of a mystery back then and unfortunately, the doubts about his ability going forward have not been proven wrong yet. His defensive stats match with some of the best in the Premier League, including the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Ruben Dias and Cesar Azpilicueta.

But in regards to attacking down the right-wing and putting a ball into the box for strikers, he seems to be struggling quite a bit. The problem for him is that players in his position like Reece James, Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold are registering several assists and goals per season. Pundits now feel that the £50m fee paid for AWB was a lot to gamble on a player without testing his attacking output, especially as a modern-day full-back.

The Present Situation

United board need to sign a player suited to Erik ten Hag’s tactics and philosophy. The new right-back would most likely need to improve United’s attacking output by being an additional goal-threat. Denzel Dumfries, Tariq Lamptey and Nordi Mukiele have been recently linked with a move to Old Trafford.

All three can contribute across various phases in the build-up play combined with their commendable defensive attributes. That makes them ideal candidates for Ten Hag’s system. Moreover, being a player unafraid to receive the ball whilst possessing an intelligent understanding of movement and space is something the current United full-backs cannot replicate up to the mark.

Moreover, Wan-Bissaka has been constantly ignored by England manager Gareth Southgate too because of his inability to cross the ball. Dalot seems to have solved the problem in terms of putting in crosses, but his defensive abilities are a cause for concern with the team shipping in goals through the gaps left in the defence on his side.

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Crystal Palace are ready to offer Wan-Bissaka a way out and he could be tempted by the possibility of returning to Selhurst Park, given Palace’s huge improvement under new manager Patrick Vieira. He comes with a wage bill of £90,000 per week, while his contract at Old Trafford runs out in June 2024.

Hence the Eagles will look for a loan move as of now since the funds to sign him permanently are not available at the club. As for Wan-Bissaka, who lost his place in the starting eleven under Rangnick, the 24-year-old might be looking forward to getting back to first-team football at his boyhood club.

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