There has been a lot of speculation recently linking Manchester United with a new right-back and one name that is being consistently reported is Norwich City’s Max Aarons.
The Mail claims that United will try for the 20-year-old in January, although transfer guru Fabrizio Romano believes that he is not yet close to joining the club.
Manchester United have Max Aarons in their radar by months and he’s appreciated. No official bid or anything advanced at the moment, he’s not close to join #mufc now. ?
Moises Caicedo: it’s up to Man Utd. Contacts on but no decision made yet. Other clubs also interested. ??
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 30, 2020
But what would Aarons bring to United that current right-back, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, does not?
An interesting analysis by The Athletic’s Tom Worville, in association with Smarter Scout software, shows the far more attacking style of the Norwich man.
Intrigued by Max Aarons links with #MUFC
Has plenty of license to dribble at #NCFC + ball retention has been elite so far this season. Far less active defensively compared to AWB too.
Do MUFC stick with what they have already, or twist on a player who may be a better fit? pic.twitter.com/SGEaZys4Ot
— Tom Worville (@Worville) December 30, 2020
As expected, the blue area of the chart shows Aarons as being far more attacking than Wan-Bissaka. A shot volume of 70 vs. 24 and expected goals per ball progression of 77 vs. 12 show a dramatic improvement.
Aarons looks better than Wan-Bissaka within the green ball retention part of the chart as well, with incredibly impressive figures for ball retention ability, link-up play volume and carry and dribble volume. Wan-Bissaka’s figures in these areas are not bad, but Aarons’ are exemplary.
However, all that progressive play comes at a cost and the red area of the chart shows where Wan-Bissaka is stronger. Defending intensity of 99 vs only 21 from Aarons is a significant advantage.
It should be noted of course that Wan-Bissaka’s figures are based on competing in the Premier League and Champions League whereas Aarons’ are based on the Championship, although some figures have been ‘adjusted for Premier League standard’.
It should also be noted that Wan-Bissaka has not been at his best in 2020/21 and comparison with last season’s figures would probably cast him in a much better light.
Nonetheless, few would argue that the former Crystal Palace man’s strengths do lie in defence rather than attack and Aarons would provide a very different option for United in games when breaking down a stubborn opposition defence is the order of the day.
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