Aaron Wan-Bissaka is a Manchester United player. It may not have been officially announced just yet but the medical has been completed and the obligatory pictures of him wearing the kit have been leaked; today will see the 21-year-old complete his move away from Crystal Palace.
Given the size of the fee and his lack of first-team experience, the move has got many across the game suggesting that it represents a good deal for both clubs; Palace as the selling party get a huge fee for a player who was literally unknown two years ago and Manchester United are granted permission to groom a right-back who could go on to be a permanent fixture in their starting XI for a decade or more.
I’m not going to pretend that seeing a lad who grew up down the road from Selhurst Park buzzing to leave doesn’t sting a little but we have to accept that for now, our place in the footballing food-chain dictates that when a club of Manchester United’s size go all out for one of our players, we’re forced to take them seriously. Whilst Steve Parish wouldn’t have been able to flatly deny Wan-Bissaka a move to Old Trafford and ensure the ongoing happiness of the full-back in SE25, he had every right to negotiate a deal which he felt was adequate for a player with Aaron’s potential and despite some moans and groans from the Palace fan-base, I think the general consensus is that he’s secured a fee we can use to make the squad stronger as a whole.
There will no doubt be some Palace fans who are keen to Wan-Bissaka fall flat on his face at the Theatre of Dreams but I have no qualms in saying that I’m not one of them. Would I have liked him to stay another year (or 10) and grown with us? Of course, but that doesn’t mean I’m against the idea of a player we brought into the professional game going on to become the best he possibly can. Whilst there are guarantees of such things, (Wilfried Zaha’s trials and tribulations in the North West are proof of that) it would be shallow to pretend that the circumstances surrounding the winger’s move some years ago remain an ongoing problem for player’s joining Manchester United now.
No one can deny that playing for a club of their size brings with it a level of pressure and direct scrutiny that Wan-Bissaka will simply not have been able to fully comprehend previously. The interest in his private life will sky-rocket and his every on-pitch decision will be placed under a microscope but it’s something he’ll simply have to learn to live with if he intends to stay there for the rest of his career.
It can only be a matter of hours until the whole thing is made official; I just hope he’s ready for the leap of faith he’s taking.