BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Crystal Palace’s resolve to hold on to Aaron Wan-Bissaka will be tested this summer – after Manchester United failed with a bid of £40million.
That sum would have been a record sale for the Eagles, easily surpassing Yannick Bolasie’s £25m switch to Everton in August 2016.
But in reality, it was nothing more than an opening testing of the water by the Manchester giants.
There is every chance that United could be joined in the pursuit of Wan-Bissaka by their arch-rivals City.
And the chances of the impressive right-back, 21, moving on has always seemed more likely than a summer exit for Wilfried Zaha.
Ivory Coast international Zaha is one of the top earners at Selhurst Park, his weekly pay packet comfortably into six figures, and the financial package needed to entice Palace into business means it rules out all but the elite clubs.
Chelsea were keen last summer, but that was to cover the potential loss of Eden Hazard. While the Belgian playmaker has now made his desired move to Real Madrid, the Blues are under transfer embargo unless they can legally get the ban overturned.
Crystal Palace have not sold their prize assets since winning promotion to the Premier League and the idea of them allowing Zaha and Wan-Bissaka to leave in the same window is a non-starter.
But the noises have been less bullish that Croydon-born Wan-Bissaka will definitely still be on the Eagles payroll in the 2019-20 campaign.
A figure of £60m has been floated as the kind of offer which would see the Eagles do business.
Wan-Bissaka has played just 42 times in the Premier League since breaking into the Palace first-team towards the end of the 2017-18 season.
He featured 35 times in the top-flight in the campaign just completed and won the club’s Player of the Year award.
His contract runs until June 2022, that extension coming in April 2018.
Wan-Bissaka was asked about his future at the club’s awards night at the start of May.
He said: “The situation just shows that my performances haven’t gone unnoticed. But I am with Crystal Palace at the moment, that is where my contract is and that is where I will be next season. I have got three years left on my contract. It says I am going to be there, so that is all I can focus on now.”
Wan-Bissaka would be in line for improved terms at Palace if he does stay in SE25.
But everything is set to go on the back-burner while he is away with England for the UEFA European U21 Championship finals.
Aidy Boothroyd’s squad fly to Italy on Friday and have their first group game, against France, on June 18.
They follow up with fixtures against Romania (June 21) and Croatia (June 24).
Wan-Bissaka has been given squad number two.
Other South London connections in the squad are Elephant & Castle-born Reiss Nelson (Arsenal), former Charlton Athletic centre-back Ezri Konsa and Jay Dasilva, who had two loan spells with the Addicks.