Manchester United have been among the big spenders during recent seasons and this summer won’t be any different as Jose Mourinho attempts to close the gap on Manchester City. They recorded their highest finish since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, but that won’t be good enough for anybody at the club. United want to be challenging for major honours and it is imperative that further progression is made during this close season.
The right-back position is an area where Jose Mourinho is looking to strengthen. Antonio Valencia has been a popular player at Old Trafford for several seasons, but he is now 32 and reaching the end of his career. Fresh competition will do him the world of good and provide the manager with an option to rotate. This season, that was lacking as the Ecuador international was by far the best player in the position. Mourinho looks set to have solved that problem as the Telegraph report that United are expected to sign Porto teenager Diogo Dalot after meeting the release clause in his contract.
The Portuguese youth international has only collected a handful of appearances at senior level, but he is regarded as a huge talent and United believe that he can arrive to make an immediate impact. Although it is difficult to judge a player’s worth, the €20 million being paid by the Manchester club is based on potential rather than current ability. During this past season, he made only six appearances in Liga NOS, which is why a deal looks risky. During his coaching career, Mourinho has never fully convinced as a coach that could bring young players through. That now needs to change, as Dalot will need nurturing on the training ground.
It is difficult to provide a detailed report of Dalot as a player, due to his relative inexperience in senior football. However, his performances in the Porto age-groups suggest that there is good reason to be excited. The full-back is regarded as a modern-day player with his emphasis being on attack. In the UEFA Youth League, he has stood out for Porto and made crucial contributions in attack. During the 2017/18 campaign, he got two goals and two assists in only five matches. That caused him to catch the eye of several big European clubs.
Dalot has proven himself to be competitive in the air, which is surprising for a player of his age. The physicality of England will be difficult to adapt to, but the 19-year-old has all the attributes to thrive in this country once he has settled in. His speed is an asset both in attack and defence. A player of his age will always be susceptible to making positional errors, but Mourinho could be a positive influence in this regard. There are fewer coaches in the world as good at organising a defence than the United manager. His knowledge will allow Dalot to improve at the back.
This won’t be the signing that turns Manchester United into title challengers, but it does solve a problem in the squad. They will have a player that can push Antonio Valencia and provide a rotation option. At the age of 19, it is clear that Dalot is a player for the future and he will benefit from working with the Ecuador international. The next step must be to improve the starting eleven and make the signings that will put Manchester City on notice. They must follow quickly.