LONDON/MANCHESTER: Aaron Wan-Bissaka has become, at 21, the fifth biggest signing in the history of Manchester United after Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Angel Di Maria and Fred.
Completion of the sale from Crystal Palace was a relief for the player whose poor performance at the UEFA Euro Under-21s was ascribed to the distractions of transfer talk. Wan-Bissaka was dropped after a poor opening game against France when his last-minute own goal condemned England to a 2:1 defeat.
Wan-Bissaka was born in London of Congolese parents and joined the Palace academy at 11. He was a winger until he was drafted in at rightback to make up the numbers in a training game against the first team. He was so impressive against Wilfried Zaha, now an Arsenal transfer target, that he stayed there and was one of best rightbacks in his first Premier League campaign last season.
His statistics were remarkable. No defender in the league recorded more tackles than Wan-Bissaka (129) and was the only player to complete more than 60 tackles, 60 interceptions and 60 challenges. Not surprisingly he was voted Club Player of the Season by Palace fans.
Wan-Bissaka made one appearance for DR Congo under-20s in 2015 but has fixed his allegiance since then to England whom he has represented at under-20 and under-21 levels. Acquiring that potential on a five-year contract has prompted United to pay Palace an initial £45m which could eventually rise to £50m.
United believe they have found a long-term replacement for 33-year-old Ashley Young and the recently-departed Antonio Valencia.
The player, a United fan as a boy, said: “It’s an unbelievable honour to call myself a Manchester United player. Every kid wants to play for a team like this. I have made my family proud with this decision and where I have come from, how the journey started, and that makes me kick on and carry on. I am going to give everything for the club and for the fantastic fans and I can’t wait to get started.”
“Aaron is a young, hungry player and eager to learn.”