Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ten Hag facing squad decimation as Man Utd star receives approach and triple absence looms

Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag and right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Aaron Wan-Bissaka has received a tempting offer to represent a country other than England and if accepting, Manchester United could be without three key stars early in 2024.

The 25-year-old has split time with Diogo Dalot at right-back when both are fit. Wan-Bissaka is known for being one of the most difficult defenders to beat in one-v-one situations, though does lack impact on the offensive side of the game.

Wan-Bissaka was born in Croydon and previously received a call-up to the senior England squad back in 2019. However, injury forced his withdrawal from the squad and he’s not been selected since.

England have an embarrassment of riches at right-back with Kyle Walker, Reece James, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kieran Trippier all providing stiff competition in the position.

Walker and Trippier are both the wrong side of 30, though there’s plenty of other options bubbling away under the surface too. Indeed, Kyle Walker-Peters made two appearances for England in 2022 and will hope to be back pushing his case back in the Premier League with Southampton next year.

As such, Wan-Bissaka’s international ambitions with The Three Lions look bleak. However, there is an alternative.

Wan-Bissaka is eligible to represent the Democratic Republic of the Congo and actually made a single appearance for their Under-20s side back in 2015.

Now, according to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, Wan-Bissaka has received an offer to represent DR Congo at senior level.

Ornstein noted Wan-Bissaka is yet to make a decision after receiving the proposal, though stated the defender is at least ‘considering the opportunity’.

Should Wan-Bissaka give the green light to representing DR Congo, he could inadvertently leave Man Utd in a spot of bother.

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Ten Hag facing triple absence

Indeed, the Africa Cup of Nations is due to take place between January 13 to February 11. DR Congo have been drawn in Group F along with Morocco, Zambia and Tanzania.

Ironically enough, Morocco’s participation in the tournament is also expected to see loanee Sofyan Amrabat become unavailable for United at the time.

Amrabat’s absence could be even more troubling if Casemiro is sold to Saudi Arabia in January…

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Starting goalkeeper Andre Onana is also in line to represent Cameroon, meaning Ten Hag could lose three players for up to a month.

Tottenham are another who’ll be hit hard by international commitments in the new year. Yves Bissouma (Mali) and Pape Sarr (Senegal) will both play starring roles in the tournament being held in the Ivory Coast.

The absences for Ange Postecoglou won’t end there, however, with Son Heung-min due to represent South Korea at the Asian Cup.

That tournament – being held in Qatar – runs roughly parralel to AFCON and takes place between January 12 to February 10.

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