Diogo Dalot: United's Right-Back for the next decade?
Diogo Dalot’s Manchester United debut shows why he’s rated so highly back in his homeland Porto’s sale of Diogo Dalot was greeted with great disappointment and frustration among the fans and club alike.
Having earlier in the summer sold Ricardo Pereira to Leicester City, all was in place for this to be a huge season for the 19-year old fullback, who was likely to step up and be a regular in Porto’s main team for the upcoming campaign.
And Porto, it should be remembered, were desperate to keep one of their top young prospects; with a contract proposal on the table for Dalot to renew his deal with the reigning Primeira Liga champions, it looked as if the Portugal U21 international was set to declare his long-term future with the club, with Porto particularly keen to increase his £20milion release clause. But after continuing to postpone the signing of his new contract, Manchester United came in with an offer that triggered his release clause, allowing Dalot to move to the Premier League giants for a fee well below that which Porto desired. To say Porto were left disappointed and frustrated would be something of an understatement, having seen the clear potential of their young academy product over the past decade, and having witnessed him play in just 8 official matches for the senior side. If that isn’t a sufficient indication of just how highly regarded Dalot is considered in Portugal, further evidence was given when Jose Mourinho declared him as the best young right back in Europe right now, an incredible statement but one many that have seen him play would struggle to disagree with.
And his debut for Manchester United – in Europe’s most elite competition – is further indication of just how good Dalot could be. Slotting into the side seemingly seamlessly, his desire to get forward and take on the opposing fullback was often on show, while his speed and physicality in both areas of the pitch meant that he could both thwart, and start, attacking moves. What’s more, his confidence on the ball and his constant searching for a forward, positive pass meant that he had good influence on the game, putting several in-swinging balls into the box after bombarding down the wing. His debut was solid, even if not spectacular, but for a 19-year old, his potential was undoubtedly on show, and he is a certainty to develop into a top-class footballer. Capable of playing on both the left and right-hand side of defence, his attacking prowess combined with his defensive capabilities and footballing brain make him a perfect modern-day fullback, having the awareness to decide when to get forward and join in with the attack, and when to stay back and put in a shift defensively, while his positioning, pace and strength add to his well-rounded nature and make him one of the most exciting prospects to come out of Portuguese football in the last few seasons.