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Manchester United 'at risk of losing Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Africa Cup of Nations'

Man United 'at risk of losing Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Africa Cup of Nations'
© Reuters
Manchester United's Aaron Wan-Bissaka - a former England youth international - reportedly receives an approach to represent DR Congo at next year's Africa Cup of Nations.

Manchester United could reportedly be at risk of losing right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka to an Africa Cup of Nations call-up next year.

The former Crystal Palace starlet is yet to make a senior international appearance for any nation, most recently making three appearances for England's Under-21s between 2018 and 2019.

Wan-Bissaka had previously represented the Under-17 team for the Democratic Republic of Congo, whom he remains eligible to play for on account of not pledging allegiance to the senior England team.

The 26-year-old stated in 2019 that he wanted to pursue an international career with England, and that same summer, Gareth Southgate included him in a senior squad for the first time as the Three Lions prepared to face Kosovo and Bulgaria in Euro 2020 qualifiers.

However, a back injury forced Wan-Bissaka to pull out of the squad, and he has since found himself behind Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kyle Walker, Reece James, Kieran Trippier and Ben White in the right-back pecking order.

Manchester United's Aaron Wan-Bissaka in action with Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli on September 3, 2023© Reuters

As a result, Wan-Bissaka has been tipped to switch back to Congo for senior internationals, and according to The Athletic, he has now been approached over representing the country at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Leopards - who were AFCON champions in 1968 and 1974 - topped qualification Group I to sail through to the delayed 2023 tournament, which takes place from January 13 to February 11.

Congo will take on World Cup semi-finalists Morocco, Tanzania and Zambia in the group stage, kicking off their bid for glory against the latter on January 17, four days before a showdown with Morocco.

The Leopards will round off their group-stage campaign by tackling Tanzania on January 24, and should Congo progress as far as the final, Man United risk being without Wan-Bissaka for a number of weeks.

The right-back is allegedly giving serious consideration to playing at AFCON, where Cameroon's Andre Onana and Morocco's Sofyan Amrabat are also expected to be present, but he is yet to make a firm decision.

Fulham's Joao Palhinha in action with Manchester United's Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Bruno Fernandes on November 4, 2023© Reuters

Wan-Bissaka has endured an injury-disrupted start to the 2023-24 season, only playing eight games and registering one assist, but he has ousted Diogo Dalot to become Erik ten Hag's first-choice right-back.

Should the former England youth international take up the opportunity, he would be expected to miss Premier League matches with Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers in January and may not be available for February's meetings with Aston Villa or West Ham United depending on how far Congo progress.

The fourth round of the FA Cup is also scheduled to be played in the final weekend of January, while the first legs of the Champions League last-16 ties will take place on February 13 and 14.

Wan-Bissaka has amassed two goals and 12 assists in 168 games for Man United since joining the Red Devils' ranks in 2019, but he is only under contract until the end of the season, albeit with the option of a further year.

The ex-Palace man missed his side's 1-0 win over Luton Town two weekends ago due to illness but should return when Ten Hag's side return to action against Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon.

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