Football News

Man Utd told they “must” sign the Premier League’s top-tackling defender

By Chris Smith

Published: 18:00, 8 April 2019

Garth Crooks believes Aaron Wan-Bissaka is a ‘must’ for Manchester United after the young right-back put in another fine performance against Newcastle United on Saturday.

Crystal Palace beat the Magpies 1-0 at St James’ Park on Saturday, despite Newcastle having 18 shots to the Eagles’ three and Roy Hodgson’s side coming under immense pressure.

Is Wan-Bissaka on United’s radar? Five key things to know…

  1. Wan-Bissaka has made 34 appearances for Palace this season.
  2. The 21-year-old has made more tackles (115) than any other defender in the Premier League in 2018/19.
  3. Wan-Bissaka’s form has led to links with a move to Man Utd during the summer.
  4. BBC pundit Crooks believes he is a ‘must’ for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
  5. Palace manager Roy Hodgson isn’t surprised by speculation regarding Wan-Bissaka but sees his future at Selhurst Park.

But Wan-Bissaka and his fellow defenders stood firm, with the 21-year-old making eight clearances, two tackles and winning three aerial duels.

And that was enough for Crooks to include him in his Team of the Week and tip him as this season’s Young Player of the Year.

“You can’t go to St James’ Park, win 1-0, keep a clean sheet and not have at least one of your defenders in my team of the week,” wrote Crooks.

“I thought about James Tomkins, who has been consistent for Crystal Palace this season, often in very difficult circumstances. However, I’ve gone for my young player of the season, Aaron Wan-Bissaka.”

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Crooks then suggested Man Utd should target Wan-Bissaka as part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s summer overhaul at Old Trafford.

“He was superb yet again against Newcastle,” he added. “This fabulous talent has not looked back since his Premier League debut at Fulham at the start of the season. This kid is a must for Manchester United.”

Wan-Bissaka has made more tackles (115) than any other Premier League defender this season, with only Idrissa Gueye (121) and Wilfred Ndidi (122) making more in the entire division.

Roy Hodgson ‘not surprised’ by Wan-Bissaka speculation

Palace manager, Roy Hodgson, has admitted he is ‘not surprised’ by speculation linking Wan-Bissaka with a move away from Selhurst Park, given his form this season.

However, the former England manager dismissed the speculation as just that, insisting he wants the full-back to remain in south London for the foreseeable future.

“I don’t believe that an offer has been made and I think this is still speculation,” said Hodgson after the win over Newcastle.

“I can’t say that I am surprised [about reported interest], I think he is playing so well and he has an incredible future in front of him.

“But he has a four-year contract with us and when we asked him to sign that, we were asking him to be a Crystal Palace player during that time.

“And I’ve not seen anything in his performances, or heard anything that causes me to change my mind or have any doubts that he is going to be our player.

“But if that speculation comes to pass and an offer comes to the table, then it will be up to the club to make a decision I suppose.

“But at the moment, I don’t have any concerns in that respect.”