Aaron Wan-Bissaka playing for Crystal Palace during the 2018/19 Premier League season.

Wan-Bissaka: His road to signing for United

Aaron Wan-Bissaka took to Premier League life like a duck to water at Crystal Palace.

It barely mattered that he was still a rookie in the right-back position, having spent much of his time in the Eagles’ Academy operating further up the flank or even as a forward.

Palace coach Kevin Keen suggested him as an option in defence when they had a training game and he marked ex-Reds winger Wilfried Zaha so well, the experiment continued.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka in action for England during the Under-21 European Championships in June 2019.
Aaron in action for England at this summer's Under-21 European Championships.

Even if he never saw himself as a defender back then, Wan-Bissaka displayed great application and soon looked a natural in the role. Described as “dogged and determined” by Roy Hodgson, and a “cool customer” by Under-23s coach Richard Shaw, the youngster never looked back after making his debut against Tottenham Hotspur in February 2018.

An excellent performance against United soon followed, deputising for Tim Fosu-Mensah when the Dutchman was ineligible due to the terms of his loan move, and he deservedly won the club’s Young Player of the Year award in the 2017/18 campaign.

A year later, he picked up the senior prize after a stellar season for the south Londoners, registering outstanding statistics. Indeed, he outperformed every other Premier League full-back for clearances, tackles won, tackle success-rate, take-ons and interceptions. The speculation surrounding his future had, by then, already started with United reckoned to be long-time suitors.

Involvement in the Under-21 European Championship with England meant any move would have to be on hold.

He had initially represented Congo, where his father was born, at Under-20 level in a friendly against England’s Under-17s at St George’s Park, but has since been successfully integrated into the Three Lions' set-up.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Anthony Martial compete for the ball during Manchester United's Premier League game with Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in the 2018/19 season.
Wan-Bissaka during the Eagles' trip to Old Trafford in 2018/19.

A deal with United was concluded following England’s exit from the finals in Italy and San Marino, enabling Wan-Bissaka to sign on the dotted line before recharging his batteries on holiday ahead of linking up with his new colleagues later this summer.


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