Milan's summer transfer window gets more and more exciting as the days pass by. The Rossoneri are following a precise path with the objective of creating a team that has a good mix of young and experienced players. Speaking about promising players, after the likes of Brahim Diaz, JP Hauge, Sandro Tonali and Pierre Kalulu, the Rossoneri are now close to securing the services of Diogo Dalot, who is set to arrive at the San Siro on a dry loan deal from Manchester United.
With the 21-year-old in the team, Milan fix the right-back spot and sign someone of a suitable age profile. Someone who can play as full-back, either left or right, but also wide in midfield. The Portuguese adds depth to a Milan side that wants to challenge on many fronts. More than anything, he comes in as a player who is desperate to succeed and prove critics wrong.
While at the Old Trafford, he gave his best playing as right midfielder, even though he was used as a right-back when his shot helped Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men win the penalty which saw them beat PSG in the Round of 16 of the Champions League in the 2018-19 season. The Braga-born defender is a player who really likes to push forward and thrives on carrying the ball as much as he can.
However, apart from that night in Paris, things went awry for him at Old Trafford. Signed by Jose Mourinho in the disappointing window of 2018, Dalot was never seen as a first choice in any position, under any manager. Even if Mourinho described him as “the best full-back” of his age group, he never played regularly neither under the Special One nor under Ole.
His path at the Old Trafford was also hindered by constant injuries. During the last campaign he missed 24 games for hip and groin injuries and in recent months, Solskjaer was rarely happy with his approach in training. As a result, the likes of Brandon Williams and Timothy Fosu-Mensah had often been above him in the pecking order.
This is a player who probably needs the trust of his manager to go out and perform. His first target at the San Siro is to get the old confidence back and improve as a player. There are areas in his game that he still needs to boost but he can only achieve his targets by playing regularly, something he did not really do at Old Trafford, for many reasons.
The former Porto man does possess a more reliable burst of pace and acceleration than Andrea Conti and Davide Calabria do. The Italians are better 1v1 defenders, but Conti lost his pace because of two serious knee injuries, whereas Calabria is trying to get back on track after a criticism-ridden 2019-20 campaign. Dalot will be a serious contender for the starting spot on the right defence although he can also be used higher on the pitch.
Dalot may not score or provide as much assist as Theo does, but he has always been a passionate character, desperate to succeed. Now more than ever. In Stefano Pioli’s hands, a coach who has proved to be capable of bringing the best out of his players, Dalot can certainly improve as a footballer and give the Rossoneri more options both at the back and up front.
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