Aaron Wan-Bissaka In: Who’s Next For Manchester United?7 min read
Manchester United announced the signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace for an initial £45 million over the weekend to the joy and delight of their fans.
A defensive-minded right back had been a priority for many a year at Old Trafford which, if everything falls into place, should now be locked down by Wan-Bissaka for the next decade.
The England U-21 international comes with 15 months of Premier League experience, youth on his side and immense excitement about how far he can kick on with his career. No one is pretending that he is the finished article, which makes his acquisition even more exciting for fans of the Red Devils.
There will be some mistakes along the way, but the 21 year old has shown his intelligence on and off the pitch since breaking into Roy Hodgson’s first-team back in January 2018.
Along with Wan-Bissaka, Daniel James, formerly of Swansea City, has been recruited for the left wing position. Two players who are on the rise and clearly a statement of intent in how their transfer policy is changing from players ‘over the hill’ to believing in the future.
But the work is not done, with so much more to accomplish this summer. On paper, Manchester United still need: a centre back, two midfielders, a right-winger and, should Romelu Lukaku move, a replacement for the Belgian.
Names are routinely circulated around the media non-stop, but there are some clear standouts that would add a great deal to United’s first-team.
In midfield, the Red Devils will be looking for a defensive player, which is why Sean Longstaff and Declan Rice are consistently mentioned, as well as a more advanced player who can add that extra spice in the final third – such as Sporting’s Bruno Fernandes.
It looks destined that Fernandes will move to the Premier League this summer, with Man United, Tottenham and Liverpool battling it out for his signature. The Portugal international contributed to 50 goals in 53 appearances for Sporting last season – a quite remarkable total.
Fernandes, 24, has flown under the radar slightly in the last couple of years, but his 2018/19 campaign certainly flung him in contention at the top clubs in Europe. With the constant speculation over Paul Pogba’s future, Fernandes would be perfect whether or not the France international does intend to move on or not this summer.
The attacking midfielder can play in a three-man field on the right-hand side, or as a number 10 sitting behind the striker, occupying the half spaces in between the opposition’s midfield and defence. The Red Devils were lacking the final ball in certain matches last season, which is why the acquisition of the Portuguese star could be a way to unlock defences.
Another player that would give Manchester United an added boost is Wissam Ben Yedder, should Lukaku be granted a move away. Fans of the Manchester club will not have to think far back to remember the Frenchman ruining their time in the Europa League at Old Trafford with his two goals in 2018.
Ben Yedder is a completely different profile to Lukaku and is more comparable to Sergio Aguero in regards to how he moves, his height and also finishing ability. With a buyout clause set to £35 million, there will not be a better striker currently on the market for a better price.
In terms of centre backs and right wingers, Manchester United do need to improve in these areas, but ultimately, it will also come down to player sales and creativity. The Red Devils are flush with cash, but they also know that it is in an incredibly inflated market that will drain every penny out of them should they continue recruiting position after position.
Harry Maguire has been quoted at £80 million by Leicester City, which is ludicrous, and Matthijs De Ligt and Kalidou Koulibaly look out of the running given the lack of Champions League football next season.
The Red Devils will, therefore, have to think of alternate solutions that bring in enough quality over the next couple of years. West Ham’s Issa Diop could be a player that fits the bill, but West Ham, like Leicester, are in no rush to sell a prized asset.
Manchester United’s summer business has started well, but there is no time to let their foot off the gas and pull up. There are a number of positions to be sorted out with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saying that he wanted all signings to be finalised before the start of their tour to Australia. The clock is ticking.