What could Amad Diallo offer Man United’s forward line?
Manchester United have completed the signing of Ivory Coast winger Amad Diallo from Atalanta in a deal worth a reported £37m including add-ons, but who is he?
Diallo is an 18-year-old inside forward, who typically plays off the right wing, similar to Mason Greenwood, and at such a young age, he is most certainly one for the future.
Having made just five senior appearances, all off the bench, United are taking a notable gamble with the Ivorian, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Diallo has what it takes to be one of the world’s best.
His Serie A debut last season was short, but sweet; he netted just four minutes into his debut against Udinese, becoming the first player born in 2002 to score in Serie A, but has been unable to make a significant dent into the first-team since.
A 22-minute cameo against Midtjylland in the Champions League earlier this season was a promising one for Diallo, taking three shots, the same as Alejandro Gomez, Luis Muriel, and Josip Ilicic managed combined, and creating a key pass in only his second appearance of the season.
|Premier League 2020/21||Marcus Rashford||Anthony Martial||Mason Greenwood||Daniel James||Juan Mata|
|Shots per 90||2.8||2.5||2.7||2.8||1.1|
|Dribbles per 90||2.6||2.4||1.6||0.8||0.3|
|Key Passes per 90||1.3||1.2||0.7||1.1||2.1|
|xG + xA per 90||0.50||0.64||0.35||0.26||0.27|
With such limited first-team experience, his time with Atalanta’s youth team gives a better indication of the quality Diallo will bring to Manchester United, having scored six and assisted five in 16 games for the U19 side last season.
This year, he’s grabbed a goal and three assists in six UEFA Youth League appearances, impressing with his low centre of gravity and ability to manipulate defenders into making a challenging before darting past them; there’s a reason he’s been likened to Lionel Messi.
What type of forward to Man Utd need?
With Diallo so unproven and raw, Solskjaer will need to be patient with him, but he also has the time to mould the Atalanta academy product into the player United desperately need; a creative right winger.
Anthony Martial has almost solely played through the middle, and of United’s current wide options, only Juan Mata is creating over 1.5 key passes per 90; Bruno Fernandes is their sole creator, and when he’s not firing, United don’t score.
With Jadon Sancho seeming elusive due to Borussia Dortmund’s attempts to keep him, Solskjaer will be hoping that Diallo will be an eventual solution to their right wing problem, and moulding him to become a combination of Greenwood’s sharp shooting, Juan Mata’s creativity, and Marcus Rashford’s dribbling ability would be the ideal situation for the Norwegian manager.
United’s forward line may look as though it’s full of options at the moment, but there is a gap in Solskjaer’s team that could offer Diallo the opportunity to become an important, first team player before too long. It just remains to be seen whether he can step up and prove his worth.