Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed that the next fastest Manchester United player after Daniel James is the other signing made in this window – Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
The right-back, who made 35 Premier League starts for Crystal Palace last season, joined the club for a fee of £45m plus a further £5m in potential add-ons.
Wan-Bissaka will be given the chance over pre-season (you’d hope) to play on the right flank behind James, who played more on that side for Swansea City.
And Solskjaer, speaking ahead of Man United’s opening pre-season tour game with Perth Glory, noted that such a right flank could be quite electric given Wan-Bissaka’s pace.
Solskjær: “Is anyone faster than James? Maybe Wan-Bissaka! The two of them do have top, top speed. Modern football is stop-start, it is go again, speed, tempo, quality, so those two have put their marker down. Of course, with our boys, we have got some quick ones.” #mulive [mu]
— utdreport (@utdreport) July 12, 2019
This is a deeply encouraging thing to hear from Solskjaer. Not that Wan-Bissaka is fast, that is. We know that. He’s the type of defender who, unlike the rapid James, doesn’t look too fast, but just seems to eat up the ground in front of him. The ideal full-back.
No, what stands out from this statement is how the Norwegian defines, clearly and exactly, what the key qualities for a successful modern footballer are: constant speed, constant tempo, always working the right angles. This requires intensity, hunger, players not being injured all the time. It requires an injection of youth.
Solskjaer’s first two signings indicate an embracing of this mantra. You can only hope the club allows the United boss to build the squad he knows he needs to build.