During the late hours of deadline day, Manchester United announced the signing of Amad Diallo Traore – a promising winger from Italy’s reputed Atalanta youth academy.
This was not the household name that United fans were expecting.
According to Goal, United are believed to have spent a jaw-dropping initial £19 million with a further £18m in performance-related add-ons to secure Traore’s services.
The youngster will join his new teammates at Old Trafford in January after gaining a work permit.
The huge outlay for a youngster who has played just 25 minutes in Serie A raised concerns. So, who is Amad Diallo Traore?
Diallo is a left-footed 18-year-old winger, who possesses the ability to play on both wings as well as in the attacking midfield role. However, he excels when deployed on the right flank.
Standing at 5′ 7″, Diallo is a smart mover both on and off the ball. He racked up seven goals and 11 assists from 24 games for Atalanta’s U19 team.
He’s only featured for 25 minutes in Serie A where he scored a goal – becoming the first player born in 2002 to score in the league.
An active runner
United’s forwards love running at opposition defences at full pace. The likes of Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Daniel James are not afraid to attempt at 1v1s against the best backlines in Europe.
Adding Diallo to that group gives the Red Devils an embarrassment of attacking threats.
While on the pitch, Diallo always tries to find space on the wings and never stops until he receives a pass from his teammates.
His runs sometimes take defenders out of their designated position, creating a free passage for others to run into.
Diallo is not the finished article and needs to work on various aspects of his game. But his enthusiasm to take a look at what is ahead of him and make a blazing run is what United fans can be excited about.
Tricky feet and smooth first touch
Each video clip on different social media platforms reflects just one thing – Diallo loves attempting tricks and flicks.
You may already have seen him performing various skills which include the Marseille Turn, the Cruyff Turn and silly yet effective nutmegs.
Another thing that excites fans is his crisp first touch of the ball. It is as if the orb is made of iron and there is a magnet hidden under his soles.
His first touch when receiving the ball sometimes reminds you of Lionel Messi or Arjen Robben.
Atalanta captain Papu Gomez once made a this comment about Amad, saying:
“He’s a future star, trust me. During our training, he seems like Messi! You can’t stop him.”
However, it would be criminal to compare Amad with the likes of Messi just yet.
According to Statman Dave, the Ivorian averaged 7.0 dribbles per game in the UEFA Youth League and Campionato Primavera last season. The numbers are a real illustration of how much talent he possesses.
Passing and Shooting
A quick decision-maker, Diallo created 2.9 chances per 90 minutes across all competitions last season, showcasing his ability to nullify any defensive organisation with his line-breaking passes.
He racked up an average of 0.34 goals and 0.17 assists last term, with a significant amount of shots (3.6) to his name per game.
Despite his flamboyant frequency in attempting shots on target, the winger often fails to keep them on target, signifying that he needs to improve his shooting attributes.
However, working with the likes of Rashford, Martial and Edinson Cavani on a regular basis will undoubtedly help Diallo.
Diallo is a lethal asset when operating as a right-winger. He is fast, agile and always eager to take on defenders.
His charismatic drop of a shoulder means he often holds an advantage over his opponents.
It is anticipated that he will go directly into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s senior squad after arriving from Italy in January.
Whether he will be given chances in the first team remains to be seen.