Weighing the pros and cons of Diogo Dalot's mooted move to Manchester United
As is the case with every off-season, Manchester United have been linked with a variety of names already, though players like Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann seem to recur each time, the name Diogo Dalot has a number of United fans pulling out their smartphones in order to know more about the young Portuguese prospect.
Currently 19, Dalot has been a part of the Porto setup since the age of 9. Some of his notable achievements include helping Porto win their 28th Primera Division title this year and made 6 appearances for the team, including the second leg against Liverpool in last season's Champions League.
He has also won the 2016 UEFA European U-17 Championship where he managed a goal in the final against Spain.
Dalot made his senior debut in January of last year for the Porto B team and has a senior career total of 29 appearances and 2 goals, although his last season was cut short by a meniscus injury.
In terms of playing style, Dalot's primary position is that of right back. He has also been able to deputise at left back as was the case when Porto played Liverpool this year. Like many of today's full backs, Dalot loves to bomb forward and he has the ability to run past an opponent.
Most importantly for United, he seems to be an adept crosser of the ball. That's something they didn't see much in the just concluded season.
Given Jose Mourinho's well publicised reluctance to develop youth, one does wonder how much game time the Portuguese youngster will see.
Mourinho in all likelihood probably has one more year left at Old Trafford to try and win the league, it would be foolish to assume Dalot will be United's number one choice at right back, despite the club having an experienced 33 year old Antonio Valencia in that position.
That being said, Mourinho knows a good defender when he sees one. The ex Chelsea boss prides himself on building structurally sound teams, with a well disciplined and organised back line and the youngster could benefit a lot from working with a manager such as Mourinho.
The only real hiccup that could arise from this transfer is the fact that United already have a highly rated young right back in the form of Timothy Fosu-Mensah who is set to return from his loan spell at Crystal Palace.
Though the young Dutchman can also play as a defensive midfielder and centre back, he played all his games at right back for Crystal Palace. One wonders if either player will benefit from this scenario, given what happened with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial this past season.
With a rumoured fee of around £17.4 million, the 19 year old represents good value in today's current market where top quality full backs cost over £50 million pounds.
Dalot also has the added benefit of joining United at a time when the club has overhauled their backroom staff, the promotion of former United youth team coach Kieran McKenna will hopefully see a transformation in Mourinho's attitude towards youth. If this turns out to be the case, then there is no reason to suggest that Dalot cannot go on to achieve his full potential.