Manchester United are unlikely to spend much in January, but the squad will at least have a new face as teenage winger Amad Diallo completes his pre-arranged transfer from Atalanta.
United struck a deal initially worth £ 19million, up to over £ 37million with add-ons, with Atalanta for Diallo in October, pending a successful work permit application.
The talented youngster, born in Ivory Coast but raised in Italy since childhood, has since obtained an Italian passport and citizenship, making the process more of a formality.
Diallo has already made an impact in Italy, becoming the first player born in 2002 to score in Serie A when he found the net on his Atalanta debut in October 2019. He also played in the Champions League and has been a regular feature of match teams this season.
It has not yet been decided whether Diallo will make the first team or initially start with the Under-23 setup until he is better settled at a new club and country.
Facundo Pellistri, 18, who arrived in October, has been largely with the Under-23s so far. However, he also trained with the first team, was part of the senior teams of the day – although he did not make his debut, and was given a first team number, 28. .
It is likely that Diallo will get similar treatment to begin with.
The rising star has several vacant shirts available to him upon his arrival. The most obvious are the 19, last worn by Marcus Rashford in 2017/18, and the 20, made famous by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during his illustrious playing career at Old Trafford.
Besides these, 30 are currently vacant, as are 32, 35, 36, 37 and 40.
There have been speculative whispers that Diallo could be 79, which is the same jersey he wears for Atalanta. However, this is unlikely to happen for several reasons.
Although the Premier League does not have strict rules on jersey numbers like La Liga or Ligue 1, league officials intervened when Swansea attempted to register Renato Sanches’ lender with his favorite number 85 jersey. in 2017. It was explained at the time that the first -team jersey numbers must be roughly consecutive and not be massively removed from the rest of the team.
It’s common these days for academy players to be assigned squad numbers that will obviously hit high numbers, which is why Teden Mengi made his first-team debut last season wearing 72. But the Premier League is unlikely to allow that for Diallo because even though he can start at the Under-23 level, his high price tag and reputation make him an obvious first-team signing.
The other more definitive reason that Diallo likely won’t receive the 79 shirt is that 16-year-old Norwegian Isak Hansen, brought in from Tromso this summer, already has it.
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