A new week brings with it fresh speculation over the immediate future of Crystal Palace academy graduate Aaron Wan-Bissaka, with reports suggesting that “extensive talks” over the weekend have led to a breakthrough between the Eagles and Manchester United.
The 21-year-old may only have been playing first-team football for 18 months but across the game, his stock has risen so high that a potential record transfer fee for a British player isn’t seen as over the top. Whilst the exact breakdown of the figure isn’t yet public knowledge, general opinion seems to say that Palace will end up receiving £55 million for the right-back; money that Steve Parish is understandably if reluctantly waving through.
There has been a relatively recent tale of caution for Aaron to keep in the back of his mind in the shape of his current teammate Wilfried Zaha. The 26-year-old, who is currently away with the Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations, joined Manchester United and was hotly tipped to shine at Old Trafford, only for his star to fall dramatically under the guidance of newly installed Reds boss David Moyes.
Whilst no one can question Wan-Bissaka’s defensive contributions in red and blue, there remain some questions over his comfort and effectiveness in the attacking third; a part of his game which is far more likely to be placed under the microscope at Manchester United, given their regular dominance of possession and territory against the Premier League’s weaker sides.
We may well see the youngster take it all in his stride and flourish in the north west and I for one would like to see AWB reach his full potential rather than struggle but it would be foolish of anyone to pretend there aren’t one or two major hurdles he’ll have to cross before we can be sure of him being a permanent fixture in their starting XI for years to come.
Given the money we’ll (eventually) be getting for allowing him to fly the nest, Steve Parish and the club’s backroom team should have a relatively decent shot at improving the overall quality of the squad this summer but it goes without saying that they’ll be a tinge of sadness at seeing Aaron move on to pastures new after fewer than 50 first-team appearances with the club that brought him through.
Will it finally become official this week? You’d assume the chances of it are pretty high but then again, we’ve been saying the same thing since the start of June with no actual movement one way or another.