Among Europe’s best tacklers but lacking creativity – Man United signing Wan-Bissaka examined

Manchester United have seriously strengthened their right-back options with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, but Opta data shows he can still improve.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s move from Crystal Palace to Manchester United is complete following the announcement of the reported £50million switch and the Red Devils are getting a fine defender for their money.

The 21-year-old broke into the Palace first-team squad when United-owned defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah was on loan at Selhurst Park in 2017-18, with the two battling it out for a starting spot in the second half of the campaign.

With Fosu-Mensah returning to United and then heading out to Fulham, Wan-Bissaka had a free run at the right-back position the following campaign and swiftly made it his own, establishing himself as one of the most promising defenders in England.

Right-back was highlighted as a problem area throughout last season for United; converted winger Ashley Young looked short of the required ability, Antonio Valencia struggled for fitness and Diogo Dalot appeared far more effective further forward.

Wan-Bissaka looks set to solve a major issue for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Opta data shows he is getting a hot prospect who is already a formidable defender.

One of European football’s best tacklers

Wan-Bissaka’s tackling record in the Premier League last season was excellent, having completed 129.

No other defender in Europe’s top five leagues managed more, with Ricardo Pereira of Leicester City (118) and Real Valladolid’s Nacho (110) the closest to Wan-Bissaka.

Only midfielders Idrissa Gueye and Wilfred Ndidi (both 142) made a greater amount of tackles than the Palace right-back across the continent’s best divisions.

The England Under-21 international averaged 3.7 tackles per Premier League match – the United full-back with the best such record was Matteo Darmian (2.8 from just six games).

Strong anticipation

Wan-Bissaka was also the most effective defender in the Premier League in terms of interceptions, making 84, three more than Cardiff City duo Sol Bamba and Bruno Ecuele Manga.

Dijon’s Wesley Lautoa and Armando Izzo of Torino (both 87) led the way among all players across Europe, with Wan-Bissaka producing the fifth-best haul.

Nevertheless, the presence of relegated Cardiff defenders Bamba and Ecuele Manga highlights that such data can favour players of smaller clubs, given the time they spend on the back foot.

Creativity lacking

Despite Wan-Bissaka’s obvious defensive strengths and potential, he is by no means the finished article.

An area he will be expected to improve quickly at Old Trafford is his impact in the final third, as he created just 14 chances from 35 Premier League outings last term.

By contrast, Young (39) and Luke Shaw (33) crafted far more openings from fewer matches, while Dalot laid on 17 opportunities despite making just 16 top-flight appearances.

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