Aaron Wan-Bissaka became Manchester United’s second signing of the summer transfer window in June 2019 when he joined from Crystal Palace.
The talented England Under-21 international took to Premier League life like a duck to water at 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.
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, however, 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.
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.
“This club is known for winning trophies and I want to be a part of that, to win my first,” Aaron told us in his opening interview. “I can see that the fan-base is huge and they support the team through thick and thin. I am going to give everything for the club and for the fantastic fans and I can’t wait to get started.”
Aaron completed his move on 29 June 2019, before recharging his batteries on holiday ahead of linking up with his new colleagues later in the summer.
A regular at right-back, he scored his first United goal at Newcastle in October 2020 and went on to make his 100th appearance for the club during the Europa League final defeat to Villarreal.