Man Utd signing has limited game-time, but huge talent

          Q & A | The lowdown on Amad Diallo

          2021/01/12 09:58
          Stephen Gillett

          "Diallo was very difficult to stop. He is just like Leo Messi, and we had to kick him."

          As is clear from that statement by Atalanta captain Papu Gomez, commenting on playing practice matches against Amad Diallo, Manchester United's new €20million signing has star potential.

          After finally joining up with the Red Devils, Playmaker caught up with Italian football afficionados @SerieASitdown to get the inside track on the 18-year-old wonderkid and what Premier League fans can expect from him. 

          1. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he has watched Diallo in person and rates him as 'one of the most exciting prospects in the game'. Would Atalanta and Serie A fans agree with OGS' assessment...and how disappointed are Nerazzuri fans that he is leaving them? 

          They would agree he is an exciting talent. Even his former teammates at Bergamo, Papu Gomez and company have had nothing but glowing remarks for the youngster. Atalanta fans would love to keep him and see how he develops, but they understand how their club works.

          The club develops and finds an enormous amount of talent and every now and then if they get a big offer, they have to accept.

          This will only help bring in newer talent. A club of Atalanta’s size need to take in funds when it can and as much as they would love to see him in their kit, they’re not naïve to how this all works. 

          2. Atalanta's boss Gian Piero Gasparini recently suggested that Diallo would stay in Serie A this season - although he's now joined United this month. Were there communication issues/disputes between the two clubs regarding when Diallo moved to Manchester?  

          With the likely imminent departure of Papu Gomez, Atalanta wanted to hold onto Diallo until the end of the season, just in case any injuries or poor play seeped in, as Diallo could have stepped in no problem. Unfortunately for Gasperini, United were keen to bring him onboard immediately and Atalanta could do nothing but accept the decision. 

          3. For such a highly-rated talent, Diallo has clocked up very few minutes (37 in total) for Atalanta over the past two seasons, why is that? 

          Atalanta has been one of the most entertaining clubs in Europe over that period and spaces are limited in the starting XI.

          Ask, Luis Muriel, who last season scored 19-goals off the bench because Duvan Zapata was the starter. Gasperini has more talent than he knows what to do with and unfortunately when your team is as deep as Atalanta, there are not enough spaces.

          You likely also have to factor in that Gasperini doesn’t do complete rotations, just tinkers here and there. This was in no way a knock on Diallo’s talents or what he could contribute. You have to earn your way into Gasperini’s XI. 

          4. What are Diallo's stand-out qualities? 

          Ball control, dribbling, strength on the ball, acceleration. Not too dissimilar a skill set to that a young Cristiano Ronaldo had prior to arriving at United. 

          5. Are there obvious elements of his game that need developing? 

          Diallo needs to work on his finishing and involving his teammates more. Similar to Ronaldo when he first arrived at Old Trafford, he needs to know when to use his fancy footwork and skills and when to keep it simple.

          He lacks the height of Ronaldo, though, and certainly needs to gain more strength to adapt successfully to the rigors of the Premier League. 

          6. How big an impact do you think Diallo will have at United/in the Premier League? Are you expecting him to be a success at Old Trafford? 

          This solely depends on Diallo. If he shows a great work ethic, he could become a world class player.

          How he handles adversity will be key too. If he assembles a strong team around him and stays level headed, I'd expect him to be a great success!

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