Amad DialloIs his style similar to that of any current players?

The Messi comparisons come from Diallo’s great balance, quick feet, excellent technical skills, mesmerising dribbles and ability to see and execute the ideal pass — not to mention his fine left foot.

He possesses a maturity and confidence beyond his 18 years that allows him to exploit his considerable skills — but not just for the sake of it, only when there’s something to be gained — and gives him a real team ethic with plenty of willingness to track back and work hard to play his part in defending.

But while he’s an undeniably exciting prospect, we all know that’s no guarantee of success. After all, the game is littered with young players hampered by the ‘”next Messi” tag.

One professional scout with deep insight into the Italian youth scene says that Diallo’s undoubted potential still needs to translate to first-team level.

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“I have seen Diallo many times and he’s an interesting talent, but I have to admit that the deal, especially at the figures involved, was a great surprise to me,” he told ESPN under the condition of anonymity. “Yes, he’s excelled at youth level and yes, even with those from age groups above, but in my view he’s not comparable to players like [Barcelona’s] Ansu Fati, [Real Madrid‘s] Vinicius Jr., Reinier or Rodrygo, who I all tracked at youth level. And for the money involved in this deal you expect a potential world star. I just don’t see Amad Diallo having the same potential of those I mentioned.”

What’s next?

The next steps for Diallo are going to be crucial in enabling him to optimise his talent. Will he be immediately integrated in the first-team squad — much like Pellistri (who, incidentally, occupies the same wide right attacking slot) — and be defined as a first-teamer but almost exclusively play with the reserves? Or will he be sent out on loan to get more experience?

With Diallo reportedly working hard on improving his English he’d no doubt prefer to stay in Manchester, yet the increasingly common route of loaning up-and-coming players abroad to countries such as the NetherlandsBelgium or even Germany might be another possibility. As the holder of an Italian passport, that is certainly an easy option.

What Manchester United decide to do with him next is of utmost importance, because their success stories of signing late teenage prospects with immediate first-team aspirations from abroad are few and far between. They have taken a gamble by spending big money on an unproven 18-year-old, but as their transfer policy continues to target younger players, how Diallo settles at Old Trafford could play a big part in their future.