The genius swap deal that could see Man Utd land £70m marquee transfer target for bargain fee

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The Red Devils have been linked with a top class winger in the early stages of the January transfer window.

I guess you could call it Palace intrigue. The machinations are whirring away and the grand plans are being planned, grandly, behind closed doors as we speak. All us peasants can do is sit and watch.

According to the oracles at the Daily Star, Crystal Palace could be about to become heavily entangled in a transfer saga involving Manchester United, which feels a little like going on a leisurely fishing trip with the Captain of the Titanic. You see, the Red Devils are said to hold a strong interest in prising Michael Olise away from Selhurst Park at the end of the season.

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What they do not have a strong interest in, however, is paying the £70 million (give or take) release clause that he has written into his deal with the Eagles. As a consequence, United have looked around their dressing room with a beady eye, desperately seeking an asset who they can sacrifice as ballast in a player-plus-cash agreement. It's the CEX trade-in approach to football management.

The lucky so-and-so reportedly deemed dispensable enough is Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The defender, of course, joined United from Palace almost half a decade ago in a deal worth around £50 million. Since then, he has made 175 appearances for the Red Devils, but has never truly convinced supporters and casual observers alike that such a price tag was justifiable.

Nevertheless, the full-back has remained on the radar of his former club, who have been regularly linked with a sensational homecoming in recent transfer windows. Seemingly aware of this, United took the decision to exercise a year-long extension clause in Wan-Bissaka's contract last month, ensuring that he can't leave the club for free in July, and that he won't be forcibly off-loaded for a cut-price fee in the coming weeks.

But it could also afford United a notable bargaining chip in their own pursuit of the aforementioned Olise. The French winger continues to dazzle for Roy Hodgson's mid-table side, registering five goals and an assist in nine top flight outings since making his return from a hamstring injury in early November. Understandably, the quality of his output continues to garner admiration from the upper reaches of the Premier League, and alongside United, the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, and Chelsea - who came within a whisker of signing him during the summer transfer window - have all been named as avid suitors.

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But if the gossip column soothsayers are to be taken at their word, United have something, or rather somebody, that Palace want, and to that end, the hope will be that they can steal a march on the rest of the chasing pack with an agreement that is mutually beneficial to all parties. For their part, the Red Devils would be knocking a hefty chunk of cash from Palace's asking price, while the Eagles would be softening the blow of Olise's departure by bringing in a player who they believe can significantly strengthen their backline.

As for Wan-Bissaka himself, despite Erik ten Hag's repeated reliance on him this season, there is a pervasive feeling that he is not the long-term candidate to fill United's right-back void, and a return to his boyhood club could be exactly the kind of injection needed to reinvigorate a career that constantly flirts with the threat of stagnation.

Indeed, the only potential spoke in the wheel is Olise. The 22-year-old is evidently a player who believes in his own talent, and with good reason. Whether he would settle for a transfer to a club who very probably won't be playing Champions League football next season remains to be seen, but if he can be convinced, then Wan-Bissaka could well hold the secret to United securing themselves a proper bargain.

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