Manchester United have confirmed the signing of 18-year-old Amad Diallo who has joined the Old Trafford club from Italian side Atalanta on a deal that would see the teenager remain at the club until the summer of 2025, with the option of a further year to be added, as is the case with all new signings and contract extensions post-Sir Alex Ferguson. The Ivorian winger was announced as a future deal back on October after United signed Edinson Cavani, Alex Telles and Facundo Pellistri during the delayed summer transfer window of 2020, which at the time was subject to a medical, work permit and personal terms being agreed.
United have made an application for Diallo’s visa, which has yet to be issued and once it has, the player will fly to Manchester, which will probably be in the next week or so. It is unlikely that he will be cleared to face Watford in the Emirates FA Cup this weekend, or Burnley in the Premier League one Tuesday evening. I would imagine that supporters of the club who will be eager to see what he can do, will be speculating which matches he could play in with Liverpool also on the horizon. It is entirely possible that Diallo may start his career at the Old Trafford club playing U23 football unless less pressure like Pellistri has this season.
This season, Diallo has made two first team appearances for Atalanta, playing 13 minutes in the 2-0 Serie A defeat to Hellas Verona on the 28 November 2020 and 22 minutes in the 1-1 UEFA Champions League draw with FC Midtjylland. He neither score nor assisted in any of those matches but did look like a lively playing on the right-wing, with has been a problem area for United for a number of years now. With the fact that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has signed both Pellistri, 19 and Diallo, 18, for the foreseeable future, the right-wing position could be sorted being that Mason Greenwood has also featured in that position regularly.
Atalanta initially wanted to keep the player on loan for the remainder of the season, but that only came out in the media over the last week or so and it was something that was not mentioned in the original deal which was announced in October. United stood firm on the deal which would see the player move to Manchester this month, during the January transfer window. The player started the process earlier this week which seems to be coming to a close. United manager, Solskjaer spoke to the official Manchester United website about his new signing, stating that it will take time for the Ivorian to adapt to his squad, saying:
“As a club, we have followed Amad for a number of years and having watched him myself, I believe he is one of the most exciting young prospects in the game.
“Manchester United has such a proud history of developing young players and everything is in place to enable Amad to reach his potential here.
“It will take time for him to adapt but his speed, vision and fantastic dribbling ability will stand him in good stead to make the transition. He is a player with all of the raw attributes that are needed to be an important player for Manchester United in the years to come.”
Diallo is a raw talent in the game but seems to have a similar ability to that of Cristiano Ronaldo when he was the same age, being confident of what he can do on the pitch and having that dream of reaching the same dizzy heights in the world of football. United under Solskjaer will be a good place for the 18-year-old to take his biggest chance in the world of football after being used sparingly by Atalanta this season, which also seems strange in the respect that the club wanted to keep him on loan for the remainder of the season after only playing a total of 25 first team minutes this season.
Diallo spoke to the official Manchester United website about his new club, talking about waiting since the summer to start the process of signing for the English club, stating that it is a dream come true to complete his move to the Old Trafford club. He also stated that he is hugely ambitious, which is a good sign as ambition and capability will be needed to succeed at United and his capability seems to be just fine, or at least will be when he has settled into the club. It might not be a big transition for him with Italian football not too dissimilar to the English game. Diallo stated:
“After waiting since the summer, it is finally a dream come true to complete my move to Manchester United. I am hugely ambitious and there is so much that I want to achieve in the game; when I spoke to the manager I knew that I had joined the perfect club.
“This is a really exciting squad with so many great players, I can promise that I will work hard every day to learn from them and give everything to develop my game. The coaches have been fantastic since I signed, we have been in touch regularly and they have already given me a lot of great advice.
“I have had time to prepare for this move, both physically and mentally, and I have worked really hard to be ready to make the step up to this amazing club.”
Diallo will get a lot of attention in England. The fact he will be playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world of football will also lay him open for extra criticism, which seems to be the case from pundits, presenters and supposed supporters of the club. Diallo will need to be tough skinned with some of the criticism which might find him if he does not perform to the best of his abilities from the very start as some of the so-called supporters of the club are quick to judge, as has been the case with Daniel James, who started on a flier in his first season at the club and then started to stutter massively. Hopefully, it will be different for Diallo.
Written by John Walker