Why Man Utd’s £50m fee for Wan-Bissaka is actually cheap

Date published: Thursday 4th July 2019 2:27

Aaron Wan-Bissaka Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United

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United’s transfer policy
Sorry Rami, but how is Manchester United’s behaviour so far in this transfer window anything like in previous seasons?

So far they’ve signed two players – both young, one has already been competing with distinction in the premier league for a season – the other a promising championship player who I don’t get the sense is earmarked to be a starter. But how you can look at the signing of Daniel James and conclude “that’s got Sanchez written all over it…” is beyond me!

So United haven’t shifted players yet…it’s still early in the window and moves are just starting to happen. Besides, I think United are probably just quietly acknowledging past mistakes and have to accept that some of those players will be difficult to shift on their wages.

I look at United’s transfers this season and everything so far seems eminently sensible to me. The players signed and that we’re being seriously linked with look like the right shaped pegs for the holes in our squad to me.

The fee for Aaron Wan-Bissaka is perfectly justifiable. Crystal Palace are a pretty big club and every single team in the league are now bloody rich with the TV money rolling in.   Gone are the days of the likes of Palace rolling over and having their tummies tickled. Hell, even Liverpool had to break the bank when they signed van Dyke from Southampton – even though he was the tenth stamp on their loyalty card and supposed to be free…

Also, the opening offer for Maguire at £70m is perfectly ok. Footballers don’t have fixed prices – no player has ever moved for the first price quoted! If United went and said £90m, Leicester would have assumed Ed was willing to go to £100m plus!

Obviously United’s business this summer may or may not work out in hindsight, but it’s all seems perfectly reasonable so far.
Andy (MUFC)


I see Rami is still sticking to his guns about how “excessive” the fee for Wan Bissaka was. I’ll grant him that the long term strategy issues at the club have been obvious for all to see as we have bounced from one manager to the next but I have to comment on the Wan Bissaka fee and explain to him why it’s actually cheap.

We recently saw Kyle Walker (50m), Benjamin Mendy (52m), John Stones (50m) and Aymeric Laporte (58m) bought by Manchester City so the bar has pretty much been set for us in terms of how much a cash laden top 6 side has to pay for a good defender. Granted, City used different attributes to identify their players (comfort on the ball, passing etc) but they paid the going rate and moved on – look at them now.

The RB spot has been a pain point at Manchester United since Gary Neville retired which is an embarrassing fact for the club. We specifically need good defenders in our club at the minute after conceding 54 goals in 38 games last season. So what did we do? We went out and bought the best tackler in the division (139 tackles made), the best one on one duel defender (92% success rate), and the defender with the most interceptions in the league (84). Wan Bissaka also completed the 2nd most dribbles in the league last season. All in all, he ranks as the third best right back in Europes top 5 leagues.

It’s definitely a risk considering we are buying him off the back of one proper season but when you consider he is a) extremely young, b) English premium, and c) inflation (Kyle Walker was 50 million 3 years ago); what I see is a great signing at a reasonable price. This is the type of signing we should have been making since Fergie retired instead of Woodward letting each manager sway our transfer strategy to their whims.

On that note, Atletico Madrid just bought Joao Felix for 112 million pounds – that’s a 19 year old who has one professional season in the Portuguese League under his belt. How do you like them apples?
Mandisi (Ole will definitely need the luck cleaning up the mess Woodward has overseen post-SAF)


Super Frank returns…
Although my brain tells me to be cautious about Frank Lampard’s appointment, I’m super excited!He looks like he has a plan, the board is fully behind him (for now) and he has a good team to support him (Morris, Cech et al). In contrast to Solskjaer’s appointment at United, it appears that the club has actually given it some thought. Reading it together with the fact that we have not yet appealed for a transfer ban freeze, it might be exciting times ahead for the Academy as well.
Can’t wait for the season to start!

P.S: Just curious, is Lampard the only PL manager/head coach with a social media account?
Preetish, Munich


I’m fine.
Dear F365,

Not a huge amount of point to this mail but thought I would post it anyway.

I’m fine with Alex Morgan’s reference to drinking tea, I’m fine with Rapinoe being outspoken, I’m fine with the overall women’s world cup and the coverage it’s had. I’m also fine with VAR but was also with the few incorrect decisions the ref’s were making. It’s fine as a Spurs fan that Arsenal, Chelsea, West Ham etc mock us, that others don’t rate our players. It’s fine that we aren’t the best side in the world, it’s ok that England will lose a few games and the teams I follow will play terribly at times. I’m ok with the England band (ish), I think it’s ok to be critical of someone you rate and blind defense is nuts, I’m ok with pundits and journo’s changing their mind’s when presented with new information, I’m fine with transfer gossip that is clearly rubbish. I like honesty even if it doesn’t please me.

It’s mainly because I’m an adult and not looking to find some deeper meaning as to why I should be upset and offended. People need to chill a bit. It’s just football.

There, I said it. Bet people are offended about this as well.
Steve (THFC)


I don’t dispute that Alex Morgan’s celebration is most likely referencing American independence, but I did ask why it is considered offensive. I’ve been back in this country for quite some time and every year the 4th of July passes without any issues, certainly none I’ve ever heard of. US citizens celebrate Independence Day on these shores openly and without protest, often partying with Britons. Not that it makes my opinion any more valid but as a dual national I can see how it is both offensive and inoffensive but the general reaction and often overreaction has surprised me.

I think England fans referencing bombers is very different. That is openly celebrating death and destruction, rather than a nod to a protest about taxes that later sparked a revolution; it’s hardly nuanced. The US and UK get on pretty well these days but I tend to hear more vitriolic, xenophobic, irrational abuse of Germans than Americans, particularly when it comes to football. Things like creating a footballing rivalry against Germany that isn’t really reciprocated. The general tone I get is that Americans, as annoying as they are, can be tolerated but Germans must be disliked or hated. National team tribalism becomes much more of an issue with that particular country. I’m yet to hear England fans make a big deal about any of their former colonies and the list is pretty long.

The Philadelphia Eagles posted a picture on match day of Julie Ertz’s husband Zach on Instagram captioned “Our face when England thought they could tax us without proper representation. ” I won’t deny that I laughed out loud when I saw it as I thought it was quite witty. Americans have been doing this for a very long time, to varying levels, normally without any issue. Why is it such a problem now?
CP, Cambridge


The irony is that those celebrating were largely comprised of ‘us lot’.  Goodness.
Ally, London.


Owzat offside?

Don’t get me wrong I would rather not have it at all.  In fact this season could finally be the year I fall out of love with football all together such is my hatred of it.  But if we have to have it, then we should only be using it to right obvious wrongs.
So I reckon the best thing for VAR would be to have a ‘referees call’ like they have an umpires call in cricket.

If a goal is scored and then VAR identifies that the offender was actually offside by a bawhair, then if the ref gave it as a goal it should stay with the on field decision.

Also, with penalty decisions, if it take the ref more than 30 seconds or they need to look at 4 different angles then they just stick with their original decision.

Try and keep a little controversy and debate in the game ffs.


I really enjoyed Stu’s argument and there is a lot to be thought about when you bring replay frame rates into the equation. But a problem with the email was that it didn’t explain why Stu disagrees with offside being binary, it merely explains why it’s hard to measure, which I have sympathy with. But I stand by being on/offside as a binary thing – there is no in between state where you are both (or neither). There is no provision for it in the rules and it doesn’t make sense anyway. There is clearly a period where it’s difficult to measure so why not use technology to improve our ability to do so?

Also, I think you have to be concerned when we’re worrying about losing the “almost-superhuman talent for looking at two things at once” of linesmen. Remember, the officials don’t participate in the game, they are there to ensure the players stick to the rules. If technology can do it better than I’m sorry but that’s just the story of human existence. (In fact, because of that, does the introduction of VAR make football more human rather than less?)

For what it’s worth I think “when the ball is played” counts from when the player makes contact with the ball as that’s the ball’s previous motion has been altered at that point.
Ashley Metcalfe


It would be typical Palace to lose Wilf
Zaha struggled first time round at United. An oft trotted out line by people choosing to ignore 3 seasons of being one of the best players in the league. I wonder if the same experts said the same about Kevin de Bruyne or Mo Salah at Chelsea? Depressing the number of people prepared to broadcast an opinion based on 30 seconds they see on Match of the Day or something they heard on the radio. I can’t be bothered going through the circumstances of his time under David Moyes but surely it is both reasonable and sensible to consider his recent performances in any analysis of his talents?

There will then be those that say his recent performances don’t make him an elite player either. 10 goals and 5 assists last season for a team that scored 51 goals. For all you stats fans that is nearly 30% as a tangible contribution to the team. You might then suggest that the opposition players he occupies and the distance he moves the team up the pitch are worth something too? I guess you’d only really see that by watching him every week, I wonder how people that watch him every week feel about him? It is probably also worth saying that winning penalties don’t count as an assist, even though Luka rarely misses.

It would be so typical Palace to lose Wilf, one of the most consistently fouled players in the league, before the start of the season that VAR is introduced but if he does go at least he may get accurate recognition of his talents. If not, I’ll see you all on Twitter complaining that he only ever has a good game against your club.


Ajax myself again and again
Dear editor,

Ajax were undoubtedly a joy to watch during last season’s Champions League and were hugely unfortunate not to reach the final. However, I think it is worth noting that there are several lessons that should be referred back to before launching transfer bids/campaigns for clubs to sign each and every contributor. Primarily, given that my club, Middlesbrough, were strongly linked with Ziyech a few years ago, I’d be extremely cautious on that note alone! Memories of messers Alves, Fischer and (to a lesser extent) Emnes still rankle in the minds of most Boro fans.

While Monaco thrilled audiences with their exploits in the same competition a few years ago, where burgeoning talents such as Mbappe, Silva and Fabinho announced themselves on the European stage, several players have failed to live up to their own billing beyond France’s principality. For the three excellent players mentioned, Ajax indeed boasted precocious talents of their own with the likes of de Ligt, de Jong and Van de Beek. For experienced players such as Moutinho and Falcao, read Tadic and Blind. The supporting cast may have functioned well but even Leicester’s recent triumph should teach us that one swallow doesn’t make a summer for the majority of individuals. The likes of Bakayoko and Lemer certainly haven’t prospered during their terms at Chelsea, Milan and Atletico, and such warning signs should be heeded for the current Ajax crop.

Ziyech himself failed to make waves against Iran, Morocco and Spain in the World Cup. I had my eye on him from that point due to his availability as a budget option on the fantasy football competition and fell victim to his largely anonymous performances. Arsenal and Tottenham could find themselves burdened with another signing in the vein of Mkhitaryan or Chadli and, at 25 years old, Ziyech is no longer in the same youthful prospect category as his contemporary, David Neres.

For every Suarez, Van Persie and Wijnaldum, there’s a plethora of failed Eredivisie export such as the Janssens, Kezmans and Altidores of this world. Still, at least Afonso Alves was the protagonist in the last 8-1 destruction of Manchester City that you’ll see in a long time!
Alex, Milan 


Sweden summary

So Saturday is going to be interesting, but our household is very sad that one of our teams won’t get a medal!
Sweden have been excellent until the semi where they appeared to abandon the nice through balls to runners tactic that won them the quarter-final. Although a poor game, I still think Sweden were marginally the better team and the Dutch were helped by the referee (what were all those free kicks against Sweden at corners for exactly!?) but they did score a great goal.

Overall, Asllani has been back to her best, hope she’s ok it looked a nasty hit and fall (Sweden’s record scorer Lotta Schelin retired due to a neck injury not so long ago, which somehow makes it even more worrying). Before the tournament we (my family) somehow had doubts about Hedvig Lindahl but she’s proven she’s still one of the best, I hope Chelsea are regretting letting her go. Although I heard rumours they will just give Kepa a wig for women’s matches as they couldn’t get him to leave the pitch… Incidentally, does the transfer ban include the women’s team or are they totally separate entities?

Along with Norway’s Ingrid Hjelmseth, Lindahl has helped me feel not so old, players of my generation performing excellently at a world cup?!

Thought Hanna Glas was great in the semi and consistent throughout but that seems to have been overlooked a bit. Fischer was her usual rock in what is surely her swansong, what an amazing servant for the game she has been.

Sweden were obviously lacking a striker, Blackstenius was great but a plan B, someone to get on the end of crosses was missing.
The only criticism was certain players not passing soon enough (the sometimes otherwise excellent Sofia Jakobsson, I am looking at you!). This problem seems to be growing, especially in girl’s football around us – I call it the Zlatan effect! 😉

I wonder if trainers will note that Sweden were undone by a slick one-touch passing move and start finally telling off kids for holding the ball too long and losing it, rather than applauding their pointless trick which lost them the ball? Here’s hoping!
Ranked 9th in the world, population of 10 million (Holland 17mn, England 56mn, USA 327mn!), world cup semi finalists! Pretty good!
Rob, of Sweden (Anglo-Saxon is an ethnic group which means mocking them is mildly racist, it was funny though but mainly because it looked bad on her with her dated stereotyping!)


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