Manchester United’s transfer window saw the club bring in major transfer targets, including an unexpected deal for Cristiano Ronaldo.
But the surprise winner of the window from a United perspective was another Portuguese player, Diogo Dalot.
Dalot entered the summer window as a player firmly on the fringes at United, and likely to depart.
Before Dalot had even reported for pre-season training, United had been strongly linked with a move for right-back Kieran Trippier. The Telegraph reported the England star had his sights set on a United switch.
The move seemed understandable, with Trippier impressing at the Euros, and able to offer experience in a key position.
United did not move for Trippier, for a few of reasons. Firstly the player was more expensive than the Red Devils hoped for.
Secondly, United’s unexpected investment in Cristiano Ronaldo meant the club did not have the available funds to chase a player who would have been a desirable yet inessential addition.
Thirdly, Diogo Dalot managed to impress Ole Gunnar Solskjaer enough that the manager had confidence in him.
Dalot’s first pre-season appearance was not the best, against Brentford, before he stepped it up against Everton and managed to get on the scoresheet with an injury-time header.
This led to Dalot making his first Premier League appearance for United since February 2020 at the weekend when he came off the bench against Wolves.
After his £19 million move, Dalot’s first two years at United were set back by pre-season injuries. Then he was loaned out to AC Milan last season.
This time around he has a proper chance to build momentum and show that he can offer something different to Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Dalot may only have limited time. United could still choose to return for Trippier in the January transfer window.
So the next few months could be crucial for Dalot to make an impression and seize his chance. This is an opportunity he may be surprised he has, and his United career now has a new lease of life.
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