Forget James: MUFC can unleash “very strong” £13.5m-rated gem, could be OGS’ X-factor – opinion

Manchester United’s new signing Amad Diallo has been likened to legendary Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o.

What’s the word?

Former Ghana international Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu has heaped praise on the 18-year-old right-winger, saying he shares certain similarities with the African great.

Agyemang-Badu told BBC Sport Africa: “Diallo is a mix of some quality African players.

“He has this quality of Eto’o’s of being very strong on the ball, knows how to hold the ball and is a good passer. (He is like) Gervinho when it comes to pace.”

Diallo made four Serie A top-flight appearances for Atalanta and bagged a brace against the Liverpool U23’s in a Premier League 2 game last month.

Upgrade on Daniel James?

Juan Mata has been a top performer for the Red Devils over the years but the former Atalanta kid could be just as good, if not better, than both Mata and Daniel James.

In fact, we’d even go so far as to say that United may have found themselves a gem floating above the Serie A youth system and are already polishing him into a player who could be a long-term replacement for Mata and a significant upgrade on James at the same time.

A lively, quick and energetic dribbler, he’s proven to be a hard man to combat due to how he can trouble the opposition in so many ways, whilst he has shown that getting up and down the pitch is no problem for him, having fired home 36 goals across all competitions for Atalanta’s development squads.

However, it should be remembered that he still remains relatively untested at the highest level, with one sole appearance for Atalanta in the Champions League this season.

But it’s fair to say that the Ivory Coast winger gave a rather good account of himself against FC Midtjylland – on the night, he took three shots and one key pass inside 22′ minutes, as per WhoScored.

By comparison, that’s more shots than the likes of James (1.3) and Mata (0.6) have averaged in all competitions this season. Given his age, it’s fair to say that Mata has entered the twilight of his career, and Diallo could be the man to fill his boots.

There’s certainly been a fair amount of hype surrounding Diallo, and for obvious reasons – after all, it’s not everyday you get a player at such a young age who has already been compared to Lionel Messi.

Whilst it’s still too early to judge whether or not he will be a success at Old Trafford, if his recent performances for Atalanta are anything to go by, we see no reason why he won’t be able to make the jump to the first team.

And given the fact the rest of the Premier League hasn’t seen what he can do, the £13.5m-rated gem could well be Solskjaer’s X-factor, surprising teams and catching them on the back foot with his raw ability and speed.

AND in other news, Manchester United handed huge Jadon Sancho boost as Dortmund reduce demands…

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