The Red Devils have invested heavily in the potential of a talented teenager, but coaches that have worked with him before have sounded warnings
Manchester United have invested heavily in the potential of Amad Diallo, but those who have worked with the 18-year-old in the past have warned that there are areas he will need to improve quickly in order to “survive in the Premier League”.
The teenager’s stock has soared after bursting onto the scene at entertaining Serie A side Atalanta.
United moved quickly to put a £37 million ($50m) deal in place for the youngster during the summer of 2020, with that agreement completed during the current transfer window.
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Diallo is now at Old Trafford, and has taken on the No.19 shirt once filled by Marcus Rashford, with big things expected from him once fully adjusted to the demands of life in England.
That process could take some time for one so young, with there a number of hurdles to be cleared before he can stake a serious claim for regular game time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The physicality of the Premier League is expected to present his toughest test, with Denis Cerlini – who worked with Diallo at amateur side Boca Barco – admitting that the Ivorian winger is not the strongest on the deck or in the air.
He has told BBC Sport: “Physically, Amad wasn’t the strongest at Boca Barco, and his heading abilities aren’t good.”
Former Italy international Giovanni Galli, who spotted Diallo’s natural ability early on, has echoed those sentiments.
“He must add a few kilograms of weight in order to survive in the Premier League,” Galli said.
While Diallo finds himself on a steep learning curve, he has shown in his development to this point that he can be a “special” talent.
Cerlini added on a player he worked with at the age of 12: “We didn’t discover Amad, but rather he just came to us. It was a great stroke of luck.
“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.”
Ex-Fiorentina and AC Milan goalkeeper Galli said of a hot prospect that he flagged to a number of teams in the Italian top-flight: “A friend asked me to take a look at two guys – Amad and his older brother Hamed Junior Traore, who plays for Sassuolo nowadays.
“I worked at Lucchese in the third division at the time, and invited them for a trial with our youngsters.
“I quickly saw they were simply too good for us. Amad played with bigger boys and drove them insane with his dribbling. Therefore, I made a few calls to Serie A clubs in order to tell them about the guys.
“At Atalanta, I spoke to the sporting director Gabriele Zamagna, and they duly signed Amad.”
Atalanta snapped Diallo up in 2015 and after just five senior appearances he has delivered them a healthy profit in taking a step up to United.
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