Manchester United have enjoyed a relatively quiet January window thus far, with their sensational work on the pitch providing enough to keep fans subdued.
Erik ten Hag has masterminded a sensational turnaround from their faltering start to the campaign, leading them on a run of nine straight wins in all competitions that stretched back to before the World Cup. That was, at least, before Crystal Palace’s late equaliser on Wednesday night halted that.
It seems that with the schedule expected to build up as the various European competitions restart, the Dutch manager is looking for added cut-price depth in a number of positions.
As of earlier this week, that could come in the form of a new right back.
The £40k-per-week stalwart only made the switch to Craven Cottage this summer, but could be set to make a monumental step up should these rumours be true.
Fans of the Reds will be hoping they are not, especially given the recent performances of Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
It seems that the former Palace star has finally hit his stride at Old Trafford, and seems to get better with each appearance. His average Sofascore rating of 6.95, whilst impressive, arguably does not do justice to how he has turned his career around in Manchester.
It was true that when he first moved his game focused almost solely on defending, and for a modern full-back at the top of the game, this was unacceptable.
It may have taken him four years, but the 25-year-old has now started the last five Premier League games and finally poses a tangible threat outlined in his 0.8 key passes per game and 50% dribble success rate for the season.
Ten Hag even took the time to praise his resurgent performances: “He is doing really well, Aaron, in the last few games. Defending really consistently. He is also reliable in offence. He has a part in it, he contributes well.”
Mbabu offers a similar issue, but they cannot afford him the time they did with the Englishman, especially when his potential is hardly outstanding.
The 27-year-old has struggled to break through into the Cottagers’ first team, having only made six appearances in the league this season.
This is contrary to journalist Kyle Bonn’s claim that he remains an “awful defender“.
Mbabu is not a terrible player, but when United have invested so much time and money into Wan-Bissaka, it seems foolish to abandon that in favour of a solid if unspectacular quick fix.
He would face similar teething issues as his potential teammate did, which, given their potential title charge, they cannot afford and simply do not need.