Manchester United have decided in the summer of 2019 to go after young British talent and it was then that they decided to sign three players. Daniel James unexpectedly arrived from Swansea, after just one professional campaign in the Championship, hoping that his speed will be a good quality to add to this team. Then there was a lot of talk and negotiations between United and Leicester City for Harry Maguire, who in the end arrived at Old Trafford as the most expensive defender in football history.
But then again, there was Aaron Wan-Bissaka, until then a young Crystal Palace full-back, a defensive minded Englishman who was to come to Manchester United in a deal worth staggering 50 million pounds. There were a lot of questions around him at that time, too. He was always mentioned next to the price-tag United had to pay in order to get him. But almost two full seasons later, it is clear that of those three moves, the one for Wan-Bissaka was the best one for the Red Devils.
In these past close to full two seasons, we have seen that Aaron Wan-Bissaka is not your regular full-back. Far from it. In fact, we could say he is one of the most unusual full-backs in England and even Europe. And that is not overselling it – it just the reality of a player reminding us of the old times.
So, let’s ask and answer some questions…
Why Is Aaron Wan-Bissaka Unusual?
When you say someone is a full back in late 2010s and early 2020s, you expect a player that is very attacking-minded, someone who is constantly making runs forward and who is spending an awful lot of time in the opposition’s half. That is especially the case with teams of United’s stature, which often want to dominate possession and play further up the pitch. But Wan-Bissaka is not really that type of a player. He is a sort of a throwback to a typical full-back, from the times of Gary Neville. His style of play is such that he is first and foremost – a defender.
After that comes everything else. He is still a player who is learning how to deal properly with the attacking side of the game. The stats are also showing us the same thing we could see with the ‘eye test’. Wan-Bissaka is making a lot of blocks, most than any other player in his position in the top five European leagues. as he made incredible 97 blocks. The next in the Premier League standings in this regard is Luke Ayling with just 64!
What Are His Pros For Man United?
Wan-Bissaka’s pros are obviously his defensive qualities, of which plenty we had the chance to see in that match against Manchester City recently. For example, in that match alone, we could see how great he did in stopping Raheem Sterling, basically getting him out of the game with his marking and defending. Also, Wan-Bissaka’s style of play is unusually clean for someone who makes so many defensive actions in every single match.
He has been booked just once this season and that is something that should always be taken into consideration when looking at his qualities. Wan-Bissaka is currently one of the best European defenders in ‘one-on-one’ situations.
What Are His Cons And Why?
However, his attacking game is not ideal and he is still trying to improve it. But apart from that obvious part of the story, there is another one that should be noted. Aaron Wan-Bissaka does not really have a designated partner playing in front of him. Man United have far from solved their right winger position, with Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Daniel James and sometimes even Juan Mata playing in that position, making it harder for Wan-Bissaka to adjust to a certain type of player playing ahead of him.