Manchester United have completed the signing of 18-year-old winger Amad Diallo, with the youngster signing a four-year deal at the club.
United agreed a deal with Atalanta on summer transfer deadline day in October of around £19m up front and a further £18m in add-ons over time, making it worth in the region of £37m as a package.
And now, at the start of the January window, Diallo has finally officially joined up with his new teammates.
It is a lot of money to commit to signing a teenager with precious little first-team experience, but Old Trafford recruiters clearly have plenty of faith he will be worth the investment.
Diallo made the ultimate impression when he broke into the Atalanta first-team last season, scoring on his Serie A debut against Udinese while still only 17. His other chances at senior level have still been limited, with a handful of substitute appearances – including two this season.
Will he join the United first-team?
For a player who cost so much, it is obvious that United believe Diallo will have a big future. But, for now, it is believed the club is yet to decide whether he will immediately be part of the first-team squad or initially be given time to bed in at Under-23 level.
United have so far been cautious with Facundo Pellistri, the other 18-year-old the club signed the same day the Diallo deal was initially announced. The Uruguayan has been on the first-team bench a couple of times but is still awaiting his senior debut. He has, however, impressed with the Under-23s and it is unlikely to be long before he gets that maiden chance at the higher level.
United will want to see how Diallo copes in the early stages of training and will be keen not to burden the youngster, especially with the expectation of his price tag. It would not be surprising to see him get the same early treatment as Pellistri until he shows signs of settling.
Style of play
Diallo is first and foremost a winger, but he has tendencies to drift inside like a modern inside forward that gets him goals as well as assists. He is also known for being strong with both feet, which adds an unpredictability to his game as he can go outside or in.
United wanted Diallo in summer in addition to Jadon Sancho, but having failed to prise Sancho away from Borussia Dortmund it remains uncertain as to whether Diallo will be the alternative instead.
Sancho didn’t publicly push to leave Dortmund over the summer, but he was keen on joining United, who ultimately refused to meet the €120m asking price and seemingly didn’t take the Bundesliga side’s negotiating position seriously enough.
Since then, the England international has scored just one league goal this season, while Dortmund as a team have been in dreadful form since the start of November and are struggling to get results.
If Diallo gets first-team chances and makes an impact in the remainder of this season, or even shows enough promise and potential in training and Under-23 games, the end result is that United could cool their interest in Sancho and have resources to spend on strengthening other positions. They do retain interest in Sancho, however.
If they don't sign Sancho, it is a lot of pressure to put on the shoulders of a player who won’t be 19 until July.
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Right wing has been a problem position for United for a number of years and, even if it is in the long-term rather than the immediate term, Diallo has the potential to be the solution.