England’s Under 21s fell to a disappointing 2-1 defeat against France in their European Championship opener last night and it was Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka who took most of the flack after a howler of an own goal in the 95th minute.
England had been on top for the majority of the game, with Phil Foden opening the scoring with a fantastic individual goal. The game turned when Leicester’s Hamza Choudry was sent off after a woeful challenge on Jonathan Bamba in the box, handing France their second spot-kick of the game. After Dean Henderson had saved the first effort from twelve yards England looked to have escaped again when Houssem Aouor hit the upright.
Jonathan Ikone equalised in the 89th minute for the French side before that heart-breaking moment for Wan-Bissaka, who had arguably the worst performance of his career, in his biggest game to date. The right-back struggled to make an impact on the game but his overall performance would not have been put under the spotlight if England had won all three points.
This performance also puts Crystal Palace’s £50m valuation of their right-back under scrutiny. Manchester United seem desperate to sign a full-back this summer after Ashley Young disappointed last campaign and the young Englishman is at the top of their wishlist.
United have already bid for the 21-year-old according to the Metro, but the Red Devils have offered £35m plus £15m in add-ons, rather than the upfront fee Palace are demanding. After last night’s performance, many United fans were quick to say that fee is ridiculous, but one game does not define a player.
Wan-Bissaka was one of the finest right-backs in the Premier League last season and at just 21 he has plenty of time to improve. If United do manage to sign him, they could have a reliable full-back for the next decade, as they have with Luke Shaw on the left hand side.
Crystal Palace know the value of the assets they have. Wan-Bissaka is contracted with the Eagles until 2022 and they know that if they do not sell him this summer, his value is likely to increase after another full season of Premier League football. They have set a price tag which seems about right in today’s transfer market, with United paying for Wan-Bissaka’s potential as well as his current ability.
10 man England had held their lead for so long, but a 95th minute own goal from Aaron Wan-Bissaka hands France a 2-1 win in the European Under-21 Championship! 🇫🇷
The club does hold the power in this situation and if United are not willing to stump up £50m up front, Palace are not under any pressure to sell. As Crystal Palace blogger HLTCO wrote on Twitter:
“In all seriousness, I’ve seen so many neutrals tweeting: ‘Wan-Bissaka’s been sh-t tonight, no way is he a £50 million player’ after one poor performance. That’s what he’ll get at United, it’s utterly ruthless. There’s an argument that staying put for one more year is best for him.
When all is said and done, Palace know how good AWB is and have put a price on his head to reflect that. If United don’t want to pay that, it’s absolutely fine; we’ll keep him, he’ll keep progressing and the saga will be revisited next summer. We’ve never wanted to sell him.”
Aaron Wan-Bissaka had a terrible 90 minutes last night, but he will have the chance to put that behind him over the course of the tournament. As for Palace and Manchester United, nothing has changed. He is still valued at £50m by Palace and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to pay that fee if he wants him to play for United next season.
One bad performance does not make or break a player. What is more important is how he bounces back from this setback and how he learns from it. United, if they want to sign him, must bite the bullet and stump up the cash in full.