Who is Diogo Dalot? Man Utd's £19m teenager could become a world star

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The Portuguese was confirmed as a United player on Wednesday, and he has the potential to be one of the next generation's great full-backs

In Diogo Dalot, Manchester United have not just signed a player who can strengthen one of their weaker areas in the forthcoming season but also promises to be a star for years to come.

The 19-year-old featured in Goal’s NxGn XI earlier this year as the most promising teenage right-back in the game , and his arrival at Old Trafford on Wednesday for around £19 million is his latest massive step towards superstardom.

An attack-minded full-back with great feet and supreme comfort in possession, Dalot is largely a right-back, though it was as a left-back that he got his opportunity in the Porto first team following an injury to Alex Telles in early 2018.

On debut in February he collected one assist and had a hand in another as the Dragoes beat Portimonense 5-1. Within weeks he had made his Champions League bow on the left in a 0-0 draw away to eventual runners-up Liverpool.

While much of his highlight reel so far has been built on the back of his attacking play, his 100 per cent tackle rate and 53% duel success over 408 minutes in six Primeira Liga matches points to great defensive prowess too. Strong in the air, he won nine of the 14 aerial duels he was involved in, but as with any teenager he still has plenty of room for improvement.

His former youth coach, Luis Travessa, who oversaw Dalot’s progress as a six-year-old, revealed that the youngster had been allowed to train with children three years his elder, such was his football knowledge and his ability both as an individual and in team play.

At the Fintas academy, Dalot showed just how versatile he was, playing as a full-back, as a centre-back and even as a striker as and when the team needed it most. Travessa also praised Dalot's finishing, saying that he scored many goals thanks to his incredible composure and concentration.

United were not the first club to spot his potential, with even Benfica having come in for him before he had even signed with Porto. However, after a two-week trial period with the Lisbon outfit he chose not to make the move to the capital due to the distance involved in travelling from his home town of Braga.

Diogo Dalot NxGn

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Instead he signed with Porto as a nine-year-old in 2008, and in his 10 years rising through the club’s youth system he has remained a hot property.

His displays for Portugal between the Under-15 to Under-21 age groups helped draw the attention of Bayern Munich among others, but nothing ever came of the German champions’ regular scouting of him.

Former Porto team-mate Miguel Layun recently told O Jogo that Dalot “could be the best full-back in the world in a few years" - a sentiment echoed by Jose Mourinho following the teenager's arrival at the Theatre of Dreams. Now he is a Manchester United player, and as they look to find a long-term replacement for first-choice right-back Antonio Valencia, they may well have given the young Portuguese star the perfect platform to fulfil that promise.

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