Manchester United’s transfer business this summer has not included an addition at right-back which had appeared to be a problem area for Erik ten Hag when he first took over at Old Trafford.
It almost seemed like a certainty that the club would enter the market for a right full-back but the improvements shown by both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot have meant a move never transpired.
Dalot started last season in fine form but after an injury sustained at the World Cup, Wan-Bissaka grabbed his opportunity and performed well in the second half of the season.
So much so that the Englishman is now the preferred choice at right-back, as he started the opening fixture of the Premier League season against Wolves.
The 25-year-old was one of United’s better performers in the underwhelming 1-0 win, providing the assist for Raphael Varane’s winner while also defending well.
Wan-Bissaka’s ability to defend against wingers in 1v1 situations makes him one of the best in Europe, with top attackers in the Premier League struggling to get any change out of the United man.
Dalot’s defensive attributes are well below that of Wan-Bissaka, who excels in duels and provides Ten Hag with a much safer option in the defensive phase.
However, it is his ability on the ball that has drawn criticism during his time at the club but under Ten Hag, he has shown notable signs of improvement.
His controlled assist for United’s winner on Monday night was a perfect example of this, with the defender planting an awkward looking half volley onto the head of Varane who had the simple task of nodding home from three yards.
Equally, Wan-Bissaka is now regularly involved during the build-up of United attacks, coming into midfield to provide an extra body when the team are going forward.
He could have had a hat-trick of assists in the Premier League opener but for profligacy from the forward players.
Dalot has always been considered a lot more comfortable in possession than Wan-Bissaka but with that gap rapidly decreasing, the Portuguese will need to improve his defensive game to get back in the team.
Wan-Bissaka has shown he is willing to fight for his place at Old Trafford, with his new found focus saving his United career which looked to be hanging by a thread this time last year.
It has been a remarkable turnaround for the former Crystal Palace man and as things stand, expect Wan-Bissaka to continue his run in the first team in games to come.