Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s whirlwind first few months at Manchester United have brought a bit of hope back to Old Trafford but the Norwegian will know as well as anyone that the real work is just beginning.
Key deficiencies remain in the squad and the Red Devils boss has been tasked with building an ambitious young side that can again compete for major honours at home and abroad.
One player on his radar, according to The Daily Mail, is 21-year-old full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, whose performances for Crystal Palace in the Premier League this season have resulted in the London side valuing him at as much as £60m.
It’s an eye-watering amount that the paper say is beyond what United would be prepared to pay, but his arrival could be the beginning of a new era at the club that starts to shed the baggage of the past.
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The versatile Ashley Young has been called upon at right-back for the majority of United’s season, playing 25 games in the position in all competitions throughout 2018/19.
However, with just a year left on his contract and the player now 33 years of age, a long-term replacement is needed.
Diogo Dalot was ostensibly that man when he signed from Porto last summer but he’s had a difficult season, struggling to find the consistency to be relied upon in the top-flight.
Wan-Bissaka on the other hand has proven he can produce excellent performances regularly for Palace, thriving on defensive legwork as much as obvious athletic attacking prowess.
The 21-year-old’s average of 3.7 tackles per game recorded by WhoScored is more than double of both Dalot and Young, which is partly explained by Roy Hodgson’s side having much less of the ball than United but also a sign that he can bring a committed edge to the right flank at Old Trafford.
In order to start to bridge the gap on the top two sides in the Premier League, Man United need to hit something of a reset button on their current squad and while that work isn’t going to be done in one single transfer window, Solskjaer needs to get the ball rolling on replacing established faltering stars at the club with young players who can develop and improve with him as manager.
Imprinting his ideas onto players who have played under Sir Alex Ferguson or Jose Mourinho is going to be more difficult than finding young, ambitious and hungry stars who will do everything to make it at a big club like United.
Solskjaer is at the club to break the cycle of spending big and failing hard and players like Wan-Bissaka can help him achieve that.