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Crazy negotiations led to Manchester United agreeing to sign Amad Diallo, says Atalanta president

On deadline day of the summer transfer window, Manchester United announced a deal that would see them sign 18-year-old Amad Diallo Traore from Italian side Atalanta during the January transfer window with the player remaining as an Atalanta player until then. Last week, the player had a medical to facilitate the move, which he reportedly passed, something that United will be happy about and will reinforce the fact the club has gone back to the approach of signing young players with raw talent as opposed to signing players who have grown in stature at other clubs, being sold for very high transfer fees.

Atalanta president Antonio Percassi has revealed that Diallo had been on the radar of the Old Trafford club for almost 12 months, showing that this was not a panic buy, but a move that had some thought applied to it, which is not something that could be said regarding the clubs transfer business going back to before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became the manager of the club after the sacking of Jose Mourinho. United could pay as much as £37 million for the teenager and if that happens, it would mean that he would have been a success at the Old Trafford club. United desperately needed a right-winger at the club, in January, two of them would have been signed.

Atalanta hail the teenager as ‘one of the most exciting prospects in Italian football’ which shows signs of United signing a talent that could thrive at the club. At one stage, it seemed that the player was leaving the club for Parma, who believed that they were first in line to sign the player, then the move to United materialised and the rest seems to be history. When the signing goes through, Facundo Pellistri, who was also signed on deadline day, arriving in Manchester on Friday, will have had a few months to see himself tested in the first team for the club. Diallo will arrive in January looking to cement himself into the first team too, which will be interesting.

United seem to have done some good business this summer with the signing of Donny van de Beek from Ajax, also signing Pellistri from Penarol, Alex Telles from FC Porto and free agent Edinson Cavani. The majority of the new signings arrived on deadline day, which should never have been the case but this transfer window was different to those in the past, especially with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic still causing problems going forward, specifically financial problems with supporters still being kept out of stadiums. Percassi spoke to Italian publication L’Eco di Bergamo, which was then translated by Sport Witness, saying:

“The negotiation with Manchester lasted almost a year. The details and the scenarios are crazy. Meeting after meeting we learned unimaginable things.

“This leads to the growth of the club and enriches the work of everyone, from the general manager, Umberto Marino, to the entire staff.

“A few days after the Youth League game against Manchester City, the other Manchester contacted us.

“They had followed him, the real negotiation started. We went twice to England. The text of the final agreement is a contractual masterpiece.”

During the 2020/21 season, Diallo has not yet featured for his club but has been on the bench in all three matches played so far with the club sitting at the top of the Serie A table with victories over Torino (4-2), Lazio (4-1) and Cagliari (5-2). Last season, Diallo made three appearances for the first team, scoring one goal, making a further 24 appearances, scoring seven goals and 11 assists at youth level, showing his ability in the game. Diallo could well be the player with raw talent that needs to be given the chance to grow and could have a positive tale about his career like that of Cristiano Ronaldo, who came to the club as an 18-year-old and made strides in world football.

Written by John Walker

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