Amad Diallo has an outside shot of a debut tonight when Manchester United take on Sheffield United in the Premier League.
Whether it happens or not, most likely as a brief 10 minute cameo, Diallo is not far off. He has clearly made a big impression on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer so far.
It even sounds like Solskjaer is willing to build his future plans around the new signing from Atalanta.
Solskjaer believes Diallo can fill the void in United’s long-unsolved right wing role.
The United boss told ESPN: “That’s his preferred position. He is good at finding space, he can go inside and outside and he will get the time to prove that he is the one.
“Along the way we have got Mason, Marcus, Daniel, Juan and Paul has played there, so we have options but I think when you look at the squad and you look at Amad and you think, yeah, that’s probably where we will work to fit you in.”
Solskjaer’s words are high praise, especially when you contrast them with a lack of bolshiness in Facundo Pellistri, who is set to leave on loan. That’s not a slight on Pellistri, who can get there eventually, but Solskjaer clearly believes Diallo is good enough to be fast-tracked immediately.
United are not planning any transfer moves this month. This is despite there not being a clear answer at right wing. The alternative would be to go and spend on a player like Leon Bailey, 23, who could come in and contribute immediately.
Instead United want to give Diallo room to grow, and as Solskjaer says, prove he can be ‘the one’.
Solskjaer’s comments are huge and shows how he is willing to build his team around the wonderkid.
What does this mean for Jadon Sancho?
One potential outcome of this is for Diallo to seize his chance and prove United do not need to go and spend on Jadon Sancho in the summer, despite reports from German channel Sport1 saying he is likely to be sold at a cut-price fee with Dortmund in financial trouble.
On the other hand, a move for Sancho could still prove too tempting if the money is right. United can trim the squad by offloading Dan James and Juan Mata in the summer, and let Diallo and Sancho battle it out and share the workload.
This could make a lot of sense. Diallo won’t be a player who is expected to start 40-50 games a season anytime soon. If he makes 25 starts next season that will be great progress.
What he does do, is give United hope at a problem position. United don’t have to move for Sancho, especially if the money is not right.
Solskjaer is clearly enthused with Diallo and is willing to build his team around him, and that’s pretty exciting. Whichever future moves at the position United do or do not make will revolve around the youngster.
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