Amad Diallo gives Man Utd cause for excitement after Champions League debut

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald Updated: 19 May 2021 15:43 BST 4 min read
Amad Diallo gives Man Utd cause for excitement after Champions League debut

After a full window of trying to strike a deal for Jadon Sancho of Dortmund, Manchester United had to settle for three signings near the end of the window to bolster their squad, with a particular deal for Amad Diallo earmarked for the future.

While Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani, two Champions League veterans, were brought in to provide competition, 18-year-old Ivorian wonderkid Diallo was also signed from Atalanta.

United fans wouldn’t be able to enjoy his talents just yet, though, as he would stay with the Italians until January of 2021.

With that time now approaching, the Old Trafford faithful can begin to excite themselves.

On Tuesday, Diallo came off the bench in Atalanta’s Champions League match against Midtjylland and looked very much the part as he helped the Italian side claim a 1-1 draw. They had trailed for the majority of the contest.

Although he wouldn’t record a goal or assist for the equaliser, Atalanta’s opener came just over 10 minutes after his introduction.

While the home side spent the first hour of proceedings looking uncharacteristically lackadaisical and unsure of themselves in the final third, Diallo displayed no such traits after coming on in the 68th minute.

Diallo vs Midtjylland:

On Target2
Touches In Box3
Pass Completion80%
Ball Recoveries1
Diallo vs Midtjylland, via FootballCritic

As soon as he entered the action, Diallo looked hungry to receive the ball, demanding it off players his senior and exuding terrific confidence in possession.

He was mostly deployed in a forward role but naturally drifted out to the left where he can cut inside on his talented right foot.

His best moment of the match came when facing one-on-one with defender Daniel Hoegh. He bamboozled the Midtjylland man with a couple of neat, quick stepovers before rifling a strike towards the far post that was saved by the keeper.

However, composure was required for him to score his next chance. He ran through on the goalkeeper not long after his previous opportunity only to send a strike straight at the oncoming Jesper Hansen.

Man Utd are believed to have paid around £27m [€30m] for the young Ivorian.

He has been labelled as a potential star by club captain Alejandro Gomez, who even compared him to Lionel Messi.

“‘He’s a future star, trust me. During our training sessions he seems like [Lionel] Messi! You can’t stop him, he’s unbelievable, our centre-backs have serious problems when Traoréeis on the pitch… he’s fantastic!” he said.

Diallo has previously starred, and continues to star, for Atalanta’s U19 side. He made his Serie A debut on 27th October 2019, when he came off the bench against Udinese, and scored his first senior goal for the club in that match, too, as Atalanta won 7-1.

He is the first player born in the year 2002 to feature in the Italian top flight.

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