AS Roma manager, Jose Mourinho, is reported interested in signing Diogo Dalot for theItalian club during the January transfer window.
It was suggested during the summer that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was keen to sell the right-back as he was rumoured to be interested in signing Kieran Tripper of Atletico Madrid but the fee the Spanish champions wanted for the player was too high. Dalot ended up remaining at United and has been given minutes.
However, that does not suggest that the player actually has a future at United under Solskjaer, although it would be fair to give him a chance as he is a talented player and could be what United need, as long as he gets the time to show his ability.
According to Calciomercato, Mourinho wants to sign the player for the second time in his career, signing him about six months before he was sacked by United. The self-entitled ‘special one’ feels that his compatriot would add experience to the right-back position at the club with Rick Karsdorp the first-choice player at the club currently.
The 22-year-old has just under two years left on his contract at United and despite being retained by the club this season, he has made two appearances, playing just 53 minutes of football for the club. It is expected that he could replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the right-back position against West Ham United on Wednesday evening in the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford, which may give him a chance to shine.
Three years into his United career, Dalot has made just 37 appearances for the club, scoring one goal and three assists. Last season, the player was loaned to Italian side AC Milan, who were interested in keeping the player this season, but nothing was agreed. The 22-year-old made 33 appearances for the club last season, scoring two goals and three assists, so has something in his locker if given a chance.
Dalot could be an important player for the future if he finds his feet at the Old Trafford club. Just playing in the Carabao Cup, the Emirates FA Cup and the lower level UEFA Champions League matches will not help him show what he has about him – he needs to be tested in the Premier League, not just as a rotation option.
Dalot is an attacking fullback who can play on both the left and the right. When playing in his favoured position, right-back, he plays as a ‘pseudo wing-back’ where he tucks in and reduces the numerical advantage when the opposition overload the midfield. In possession, he plays as a normal winger, which would suit United as Wan-Bissaka does not attack as well as he perhaps should.
The 22-year-old Portuguese fullback has the technical ability to create chances and can cross the ball and be a constant attacking threat – which is what United seemingly saw in Trippier. If Dalot could offer that, given the chance, he could well add pressure for Wan-Bissaka this season.
Solskjaer will need to think about his plans for Dalot this season as if he’s going to be looked at every so often, he’s going to want to leave the club to find a club that will give him the paying time.
United clearly have other options they are seeking, with Tripper hotly linked to the club in the summer, so Dalot being at the club now could just be because United were not able to sell him.
If Mourinho does want to buy him for Roma in the summer, and the club are able to do a deal with United which matches the fee they would like to receive for the player, as two years will run by quickly, I am sure the Portuguese manager will get his man.
However, if United have plans for the Portuguese right-back, I am sure they will try and ensure that he is not sold but he will need regular playing time at the club in order to placate the player. That said, he has not really been a regular under Solskjaer in his time at the club having played just 37 times, although the majority of them come under the Norwegian.
Personally, I would like to see Dalot given a good crack at the whip this season, which could see him become one of the first names on the team sheet providing he puts in the performances he is capable of. Dalot seems happy that Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the club this summer and that Bruno Fernandes is at the club, of which they are just two of the players he could supply from the flanks.
I am sure that over the next couple of months, we will see what Solskjaer’s plans are for Dalot and providing he gets the minutes on the pitch, he will know whether he can fight for his place at United or whether he needs to be searching for a new club. Providing Mourinho has the money to sign Dalot permanently, it could be a route out of Old Trafford for him.
Written by John Walker