Manchester United completed the signing of 18-year-old winger Amad Diallo from Atalanta this week, a deal initially reached in October subject to the necessary finishes and work permit.
Diallo has received rave reviews in Italy, despite relatively few first-team appearances for Atalanta, and United have pledged to strike a £ 37.5million deal worth £ 19million at advance and an additional £ 18.5 million in add-ons that will be triggered over time.
Diallo has already been given a first-team number and United are hoping he will eventually play an active role in helping restore the club’s former glory days.
But while he is clearly a signing with serious first-team intention – price alone reveals it, the role he plays in the rest of the season will depend on his initial ability to train and s ‘install. in its new environment.
The club have been cautious in recent months not to overexpose or ask too much of compatriot Facundo Pellistri, 18, who has played at the Under-23 level so far. The Uruguayan impressed at the reserve level and at least reached the bench of the first team.
Diallo could turn out to be a similar story, at least initially, as Pellistri is now knocking on the first team’s door after having had the initial time to find his feet.
Despite caution, Saturday’s clash against Watford, an FA Cup draw against a side from a lower division, could have been the perfect low-pressure introduction for Diallo. This was especially the case when Pellistri was ruled out after testing positive for coronavirus, ruining his luck.
In reality, Watford’s game has come too soon for Diallo as his paperwork goes through the final stages after receiving an “board approval” by the FA for his work permit. Coronavirus protocols later added a necessary precaution that will delay things for a few days. At best, he could be eligible to play when United face Burnley on Tuesday.
To expect him to appear when United face Liverpool on January 17 is unfair and unrealistic.
The greatest likelihood is that it will be some time before United fans see Diallo in action at first-team level. The competition for attacking spots in the senior squad is fierce right now, and only if it proves impossible to ignore in training will Ole Gunnar Solskjaer throw him into the depths.
Solskjaer confirmed this when speaking to the press on Friday, saying: “He is still not with us in the training squad.
“I saw that there were a lot of expectations on Amad and rightly he is an exciting player with fantastic attributes that we look forward to developing and giving him the chance to succeed at Man United. It’s important that we give him that time to settle in, if he’s in the 23 for his first games, or if he looks so ready to enter the first team, I don’t know yet. “
Longer term, United have high hopes for Diallo. If it does eventually thrive, it could go a long way to solving the right-wing problem that has persisted since at least 2015.
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