Manchester United fans are excited to see new signing Amad Diallo in action following his £19 million arrival from Atalanta.
The 18-year-old, who could eventually cost United as much as £37.2 million with add-ons, put pen to paper on a deal that keeps him tied to Old Trafford until June 2025 at the earliest.
The Red Devils struck a deal to sign Diallo in October and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can’t wait to work with the youngster.
“Having watched him myself, I believe he is one of the most exciting young prospects in the game,” Solskjaer said. “It will take time for him to adapt but his speed, vision and fantastic dribbling ability will stand him in good stead to make the transition.
“He is a player with all of the raw attributes that are needed to be an important player for Manchester United in the years to come.”
Diallo was officially unveiled as a Man Utd player this week and was shown around the club’s Aon Training Complex.
If you don’t know much about the teenager, then fear not: you’re in the right place.
Here are 17 things you might not know about the talented teen…
He left Ivory Coast for Italy aged 10
Born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Diallo moved to Italy at the age of 10. He was granted an Italian passport ahead of his move to Old Trafford in December 2020.
His first club was ‘Boca Barco’
It was with Boca Barco – a small Italian amateur club named after Argentine giants Boca Juniors – where Diallo first caught the eye.
“We didn’t discover Amad, but rather he just came to us. It was a great stroke of luck,” Denis Cerlini, the youth coach who trained Diallo at Boca Barco, told BBC Sport.
“From the very first moment, it was evident the kid was special. He was very bold and quick, possessed great technique and a strong shot, and executed everything at great speed.
“Amad was popular in the dressing room. He made a lot of friends, learned Italian and seemed to be a very determined guy who knew exactly what he wanted.”
After a season with Boca Barco, Diallo sealed a move to Atalanta in 2015.
Compared to Lionel Messi by Atalanta players
Diallo began training with Atalanta’s senior squad at the age of 16 and, according to the club’s captain Papu Gomez, was an absolute handful.
“There are defenders in the first team that sometimes cannot stop him,” Gomez was quoted saying by United’s official website. “To stop him in training, we have to kick him! He plays like Messi.”
High praise indeed.
The giants he previously had trials with
Before joining Atalanta, Diallo had trials with Juventus, AC Milan and Inter.
The three Italian giants might end up kicking themselves for not signing the starlet.
He recently ditched ’Traore’ from his name
Originally known as ‘Amad Diallo Traore’, the youngster confirmed on Instagram in October that he was ditching ’Traore’.
“I updated with the new name,” he wrote on his Instagram story.
Man Utd fans should have no worries about Diallo’s personality.
“Coaches who have worked with him closely and journalists who have followed his development talk about a winger of phenomenal attacking potential, a player who is disciplined, dedicated and extremely determined to reach the top,” writes BBC Sport’s Michael Yokhin.
He enjoyed a dream professional debut
Diallo made his profession debut in 2019, entering the fray as a 79th-minute substitute for Atalanta against Udinese. Four minutes later he was on the scoresheet as Atalanta registered an emphatic 7-1 victory.
… And he made Serie A history
By scoring that debut goal, Diallo became the first player born in 2002 to score in Serie A, aged 17 years and 109 days.
He only has 59 minutes of senior football to his name
Despite his huge talent, Diallo has only played 59 minutes of senior football so far.
“It’s been a little bit strange these last few months,” Diallo said following his move to Old Trafford, “I would have hoped to have played a little bit more with Atalanta, but it wasn’t possible.
“Now I’m here and I’m very happy to be here and I’m expecting a lot from my experience here. I’m looking forward to starting.”
What impressed United’s scouts?
United claim their scouts had been aware of Diallo’s talent for a number of years.
“They were so impressed with Diallo’s skill, pace and mentality,” the Red Devils’ website says, “securing his services became an objective.”
Fears over his physicality
Diallo was first spotted by Giovanni Galli, the former Fiorentina, AC Milan and Napoli goalkeeper who played for Italy at the 1986 World Cup.
The 62-year-old is obviously a huge fan of the youngster but fears he may need to bulk up in order to flourish in the Premier League.
“He must add a few kilograms of weight in order to survive in the Premier League,” Galli told BBC Sport.
However, one top scout at an unnamed club – per ESPN – claims the teenager is able to handle himself on the pitch.
“Physical profile: can seem lightweight, but deals well with contact. Able to stay on his feet even when facing strong challenges. Low point of gravity, good balance,” the report reads. “Impressive change of direction with and without the ball. Impressive body control and coordination. Very quick on short spaces, loses some power and speed over longer distances. More continuous than most players of his age, impact persists throughout the game.”
His style of play
The same scout report provides in-depth details about Diallo’s playing style.
Initially a central midfielder, the report says: “Characteristic inverted winger who likes to cut in on his left foot from the right. Prefers to take up positions relatively deep in order to participate in build-up rather than go directly for a goal or the conclusive phase, but is also effective closer to the goal and penalty area. Less effective on the left, but can roam with success in central positions.”
He’s already tormented Man City
Diallo stole the show against Manchester City in the UEFA Youth League back in October 2019, scoring one goal and setting up another in a 3-1 victory for Atalanta.
You can watch his impressive highlights here…
Diallo has shone on his Champions League debut
United fans were left buzzing in December 2020 after watching Diallo’s eye-catching highlights from his Champions League debut against FC Midtjylland.
He was only on the pitch for 22 minutes, but he still managed to make a big impression on Europe’s biggest stage…
Which shirt number will he wear at Man Utd?
Diallo takes the No. 19 shirt, previously worn by Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck, Gerard Pique, Edwin van der Sar and Dwight Yorke among others.
“Hope it brings you lots of luck bro,” Rashford said to the United new boy on Instagram.
His two role models at Old Trafford
Diallo has already been in contact with compatriot Eric Bailly in recent months. He admits that he’ll also seek advice from Paul Pogba.
“Eric will be a definite reference point for me,” Diallo said. “I’ve actually already been in touch with him over the last few months and we’ve been chatting.
“I’ll be asking him for advice and will be listening to all he says, and also the other players who speak French and Italian like [Paul] Pogba for example, he will be another good reference point for me.”
Named by UEFA’s latest ’50 for the future’ list
Diallo’s name has been included alongside the likes of Jude Bellingham, Curtis Jones and Daniel Maldini on UEFA’s ‘ones to watch for 2021’ list.
Will he emerge to be the pick of the bunch? Only time will tell, but Solskjaer and Man Utd’s fans will feel quietly optimistic.