Manchester United football director John Murtough blocked a potential loan move for Barcelona’s Sergino Dest by backing Aaron Wan-Bissaka, The Athletic report.
Dest was heavily linked with a reunion with manager Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford and a temporary deal was a genuine possibility during the final days of the transfer window.
However, United did not make any approach for his services. The United States star eventually signed for AC Milan on loan with an option to buy for £17.5 million.
It is now reported that Dest was regarded as a much better fit for the Red Devils boss, and he would not have stopped Wan-Bissaka from leaving the club if he joined.
That situation, however, never arose as Murtough decided to back Wan-Bissaka to come good.
Dest would have been a risk-free signing on loan
Dest was superb during his maiden season at Ajax under Ten Hag. He made an impressive eight goal contributions from 38 games before securing his move to Barcelona.
His time at the Camp Nou was hugely disappointing. He played in different positions for the Catalan giants while manager Xavi Hernandez also tended to ignore him last season.
An experienced Dani Alves was preferred ahead of him earlier this year. Xavi made it clear that he was surplus to requirements this term by not including him in matchday squads.
Hence, Dest was expected to leave on loan before the deadline. With wages of just £64,000-a-week, United should have taken the decision to sign him with a buy option.
The 21-year-old is well versed to playing in Ten Hag’s system after graduating at Ajax. United had the chance to assess his adaptability before deciding whether to trigger the clause.
However, nothing of that sort happened. The hierarchy wanted to sell Wan-Bissaka first to bring in another right-back, but were also not willing to accept a significant loss on him.
Wan-Bissaka was purchased from Crystal Palace for a hefty £50m, and there was talk of him leaving for just £10m. Murtough probably thought the best choice was to keep him.
The decision has not proved worthwhile thus far. Wan-Bissaka has played just four minutes under Ten Hag, and was an unused substitute for the Europa League opener in midweek.
The Englishman’s defensive-minded playing style does not suit the manager. It remains to be seen whether he can get more minutes with the hectic schedule after the international break.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com and SalarySport.com
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