Tag Archives: Diogo Dalot

Diogo Dalot will never get a better chance to be first-choice for Manchester United

Sometimes in the world of elite sports, it takes an act of pure luck to stumble upon something that turns into a great decision.

Manchester United know this better than most. They were desperate to sign Alan Shearer once upon a time, but when he turned them down they instead signed Teddy Sheringham and won the treble.

They also would never have signed the catalyst for their success in the 1990’s, Eric Cantona, if they hadn’t received a phone call from Leeds enquiring about the availability of Denis Irwin.

So with a new manager in Ralf Rangnick taking charge recently at Old Trafford and everyone starting with a clean slate, full-back Diogo Dalot has another chance to make it at Manchester United.

The Portuguese defender has had a tough time at the club since joining under Jose Mourinho back in 2018 from FC Porto. He made 23 appearances in his debut campaign for the club, but in the two-and-a-half seasons that have followed he’s played just 21 times for them

He was loaned out to AC Milan last year and had it not been for an unsuccessful move for Kieran Trippier in the summer, he probably would have left on a permanent deal.

Manchester United's Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United's Portuguese defender Diogo Dalot chat from their seats on the...

This season, Dalot barely featured under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before the Norwegian was sacked. He started in the League Cup and in the Champions League when Aaron Wan-Bissaka was suspended, and made some substitute appearances.

An injury to Wan-Bissaka’s hand meant he was handed a start by interim boss Michael Carrick against Arsenal where he played well, and Rangnick opted for an unchanged team against Crystal Palace a few days later.

He was then rested for the Champions League clash against Young Boys in midweek, where Wan-Bissaka’s performance caught the eye for all the wrong reasons. A bad night for him got even worse when on the final whistle he went crashing into the advertising hoardings and had to be stretchered off with a knee and wrist problem after the final whistle.

That paves the way for Dalot to get back in the team for the weekend’s clash against Norwich City and potentially secure a prolonged run in the team.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka of Manchester United lies injured during the UEFA Champions League group F match between Manchester United and BSC Young Boys at...

He won’t get a better chance to make that spot his own than now, because he is the better suited option for the way the German wants to play football.

Dalot is so much more comfortable on the ball and is capable of playing dynamic passes with both feet. He is also a willing runner with the ability to beat a man with dribbling, while his crossing is far superior.

Defensively he has more to learn and offer, but with coaching there is a solid young full-back there. That’s what Rangnick is looking for and that’s why he’s there, to help develop the raw talent at the club.

But his attacking skillset is so much better suited to the modern full-back of today’s game, where the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Reece James, Joao Cancelo, Andrew Robertson and Alphonso Davies are key parts to their club’s successes.

Ralf Rangnick the interim / caretaker manager / head coach of Manchester United and Diogo Dalot of Manchester United at full time during the Premier...

A run in the team with a string of good performances under the new management will give the boss no reason to leave him out of the side when Wan-Bissaka is eventually fit again.

There is no time like the present and with Manchester United firmly in transition to a more attacking unit, the time is now for Dalot to step up and make a claim for the right-back spot.

What Manchester United fans learnt from Ralf Rangnick’s first win as manager

Manchester United earned back-to-back victories in the Premier League for the first time since September as Fred’s goal gave Ralf Rangnick a winning start as manager.

The German boss took over as interim manager until the end of the season following the win over Arsenal in midweek and named an unchanged team for the visit of Palace, who were set up to counter and attack United’s weaknesses.

The Reds turned in an excellent first half performance but they didn’t find the breakthrough until late on, when Fred whipped one into the top corner with his right foot from the edge of the box.

United learnt from the performance that there are some things to come and there are plenty of positives to take from it, but here are the ones I picked out.

Fred will love Rangnick

If it wasn’t obvious from the fact he got the winner, the Brazilian was excellent throughout. Many people expected an upturn in his fortunes with the arrival of a coach and a more structured system and it showed immediately.

The 28-year-old was quick in the press, more forward thinking with his passing and his tackling was as good as usual. This system is designed to get the best out of players like him and he is thriving in the heart of midfield.

Victor Lindelof enjoyed the responsibility

The Swede continued in the absence of Raphael Varane but he turned in one of the most assured performances of his Old Trafford career.

Lindelof was excellent on the ball, brave to pinch the ball early on the halfway line and constantly organising his midfielders ahead of him too. He did well to completely nullify the threat of Christian Benteke and Odsonne Edouard up front while also helping Diogo Dalot get forward and track Wilfried Zaha. A top performance.

Attacking full-backs

Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Aaron Wan-Bissaka was a staple of the defence but it seems as though his position may not be so secure anymore.

Rangnick opted to stick with Dalot and the Portuguese defender turned in an excellent display, with great confidence on the ball and a real threat up and down the wing. With the full-backs keeping a high starting position, the attacking abilities are important and Dalot could be a big winner in this change.

Manchester United Head Coach / Manager Ralf Rangnick congratulates Diogo Dalot of Manchester United at the end of the Premier League match between...

Free flowing attack

United pressed high and were impressive off the ball in the game, but the performances of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho were also positives in an attacking sense.

Both men pressed well and they linked well together in and around the box as United touched the ball more times in the opponents penalty area than in any game since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

While neither were directly involved in the goal, it showed that they can be key figures in the side and that can only be a positive for Manchester United.

Manchester United Focused On Exits

With a week to go in the transfer window, Manchester United have finally begun working on exits from the playing squad.

The Red Devils have been strongly linked with several players across the summer window but so far have only managed to sign Donny Van De Beek from Ajax for around £35 million. Their pursuit of Jadon Sancho has reportedly continued into the final week, while they’re also looking to complete the signing of Porto left-back Alex Telles too.

Despite having plenty of deadwood too they have so far only let one first-team player leave the club, with Alexis Sanchez’ contract being rescinded and the Chilean allowed to sign for Inter Milan on a permanent deal. Chris Smalling has returned from Roma after the Serie A side refused to meet the asking price, while there has been no interest in the likes of Jesse Lingard, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo.

But now with the window winding down, transfers are seemingly taking shape.

Attacking midfielder Andreas Pereira is set to join Lazio on a season-long loan deal with the option to make the transfer permanent for €27million next summer, while Roma are set to return with an improved offer for Chris Smalling closer to the €18 million asking price.

Further to that, full-back Diogo Dalot is a target for another Serie A side as AC Milan are looking to take him on loan. According to reports, they made an offer to take the Portuguese player for the season but Manchester United are only interested in doing business for a permanent deal.

I think the Dalot situation is odd, considering he’s barely been given a first-team role at the club. He clearly has talent going forward, which is something the club are lacking at full-back right now. Solskjær is unhappy about Dalot’s intensity on and off the ball and has made the decision to part ways with the player. It seems that Ole would prefer to keep hold of Timothy Fosu-Mensah as extra cover and if he can sign Alex Telles from Porto, he will use Brandon Williams as cover for Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back.

Regardless of the situation with incoming players, United’s decision to start moving players on makes a lot of sense. Despite the lack of players coming in, the players linked with moves away aren’t part of the plans of the club going forward. There’s no need for them to be there.

Players like Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo have no interest coming from outside the club but they also clearly have no future at the club. By shifting them both, United can get close to £200k p/w off the wage bill and put that towards new signings in the future. Reducing the wage bill should be one of the priorities over the next year or two, ensuring that back-up players are receiving back-up wages so that when the time comes to move them on they’re not impossible to sell as has been the case over the last 7 years.

It seems like there will be plenty of movement at Old Trafford this coming week, whether the fans see the right incomings and outgoings to help their current campaign remains to be seen though.

Aston Villa Survive – So What Now?

The great escape was completed as Aston Villa miraculously survived the drop and secured another season in the Premier League next year.

Captain Jack Grealish’s goal saw Villa take the lead on the day before Andriy Yarmolenko equalised minutes later to make it a nervy ending. In the end, they stayed strong and secured the point which meant Bournemouth’s win wasn’t enough to save them and Watford’s defeat to Arsenal meant they were the final team to go down.

The scenes after the final whistle were that of relief. The players gathered together on the pitch with the staff and bounced around in celebration, with the manager Dean Smith proudly boasting they would all celebrate by getting very drunk together.

But as the morning comes and the celebrations end, Aston Villa must decide how they build on this now.

Grealish is expected to leave but with the club still in the Premier League, they can now demand a much greater fee. £60million is a fee that has been reported, which would allow the club to not only replace Grealish but also strengthen elsewhere in the squad.

Pepe Reina’s loan deal is due to expire and with Tom Heaton hopeful of returning from injury in time for the start of the new campaign, Smith needs to decide whether or not he will be the first choice keeper once again.

In defence, the club need to improve. They conceded 67 goals this season, a number that only Norwich can top. Mings and Hause formed a good partnership in the middle but the full-backs really struggled both going forward and defensively. New full-backs on either side could be a big help to Villa and they could take a look at relegated Norwich defenders Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis to potentially help them. Another potential option could be a loan deal for Diogo Dalot of Manchester United, who has fallen behind Timothy Fosu-Mensah in the pecking order at Old Trafford under Ole Gunnar Solskjær.

In midfield, after replacing Grealish they don’t need so much work. A bit of depth wouldn’t go amiss but with McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Conor Hourihane and Marvellous Nakamba they have enough quality to continue to keep them in games.

The attack is the huge problem Villa have. Without Grealish’s goals, Villa cannot rely on Wesley, Samatta and Keinan Davis. They need to look at bringing in a proven goalscorer in the Premier League. I’ve seen them linked with Teemu Pukki but I wouldn’t go for him. After a big burst at the start of the campaign, he fell away and hasn’t scored now since January.

After his revelation after Watford’s relegation that it could have been his last game for the club, Villa could do much worse than look to bring in Troy Deeney. He has Premier League pedigree, he is a leader and he can play football. He’d also go some way to replacing the leadership qualities of Grealish and wouldn’t cost them a bomb.

Once the party is done and the dust has settled, Villa need to come up with a plan quickly about targets and new arrivals they need to make sure they’re not in this same position yet again next season.