By Dave Marshall
According to Skysports, Diogo Dalot has completed his medical to move to Manchester United.
The 19-year-old Porto defender has been linked to us in the past couple of weeks and has a €20m (£17.4m) release clause at the Estádio do Dragão.
Dalot, highly talented but relatively unproven at the elite level, is not the typical signing that Jose Mourinho tends to look for. It therefore seems likely that scout Javier Ribalta – who joined from Juventus last summer – has had an influence on this deal, as well as the one for Fred that was announced on Tuesday.
Dalot is best known for his high-quality crosses: 62% of the ones he made in the Primeira Liga last term found their man, an accuracy rate better than every other full-back in the division, although the caveat would be that he only started four games from his debut in February, five if we include a dead-rubber Champions League clash at Anfield.
The Braga born boy, who can also play at left-back, might offer more pace than the current full-backs, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young, both 32. The duo rarely show the audacity to attack the byline and their reluctance to do so tends to lead to sideways passing which slows the play down, the most clear example of this being in the first half of our FA Cup Final defeat to Chelsea; Dalot could re-invigorate our forward play.
The one concern about this deal is that Mourinho has often had the option to give opportunities to young, exciting full-backs – Luke Shaw for instance – but he appears to favour professionals closer to the Valencia and Young mould because of the experience they offer; perhaps he finds older players easier to man manage.
He might be attracted by Dalot’s strength in the air; having played as an auxiliary centre-back at times and won two aerial duels per 90 minutes as a full-back, which might come in handy if United are defending a lead.
The challenge for Dalot though is, with bags of ability but little senior experience, to step straight into a team with serious title ambitions.