Man Utd weighing up Amad options after £73m Sancho arrival

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Amad had only been wearing a Manchester United shirt for 13 minutes before there were calls for him to be included in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-team plans on a regular basis. 

The wait, while work permit issues were sorted, seemed to be worth it as the winger made an instant impact. 

After two goals on debut for the under-23s, his first senior goal came in the Europa League against AC Milan at Old Trafford in March only six minutes after coming off the bench. 

United’s failure to land Jadon Sancho the previous summer meant the expectation and pressure on Amad was sky high. There was an expectancy and even an urgency from some supporters for Solskjaer to throw him straight in at the deep end to solve the team’s problems on the right wing. 

With just 59 minutes of first-team football to his name at Atalanta before he signed however, there was a need to bed him in as an inexperienced player moving to a new country. 

And while he has impressed Solskjaer with his attitude and aptitude, the next step is uncertain  with United finally landing their man in Sancho.

To begin with, his pre-season is a lot different to that of the majority of his team-mates. Solskjaer gave permission for Amad and Eric Bailly to be included in Ivory Coast’s squad for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

Should the Elephants reach the gold medal match on August 7 he would not arrive back in Manchester until six days before the start of the new campaign. He would therefore miss the entire pre-season. 

Nonetheless, the games have been a worthwhile experience for Amad, who turned 19 earlier this month. 

Amad Diallo Manchester United GFX

He laid on a terrific assist for Franck Kessie in the Olympic opener against Saudi Arabia and started in the goalless draw against Brazil on matchday two as well as the draw against Germany that secured their quarter-final place. They play Spain on Saturday. 

"When your country calls you up, I think I can’t stand in the way of that boyhood dream being fulfilled,” Solskjaer said. "Amad is a young, exciting prospect. It’ll be good to see them.” 

When Amad arrives back from Tokyo his new team-mate and wing rival Sancho will already be established within the group. 

The England international is expected to join up with the squad on Monday for a training camp ahead of their final pre-season friendly against Everton. 

Sancho, at £73 million ($102m), is coming in as a starter and there has already been loan interest from clubs for Amad. 

Solskjaer has already confirmed that Facundo Pellistri, who was signed in the same window as Amad, will be heading out on loan for more experience. A decision will soon have to be made as to whether a similar pathway would be beneficial for the Ivorian. 

That could depend on the fitness status of Marcus Rashford, who might end up having shoulder surgery in August. 

Amad Diallo Ivory Coast GFX

“We use every single player, we think about every single player's - and the club's - best pathway; what's best for the season and best for the future,” Solskjaer said on Wednesday.

“Amad's enjoying the Olympics. We'll sit down towards the end of the window and see where we are. Of course, Marcus Rashford, what's the injury status? We'll make a decision on Amad when he comes back and sit down with him.”

When he was signed from Atalanta, Amad was hailed inside the club as one of the most exciting young prospects in Italian football. Their scouts had been watching him since 2016. 

Given how highly he is regarded - and the plans Solskjaer has for the team going forward - it is likely he will have a key part to play one day but probably not this season. 

Sancho’s arrival will push him down the pecking order and the pre-season form of Anthony Elanga, who has given Solskjaer food for thought with his impressive performances, could mean a loan move for Amad. 

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 “The decision on him (Elanga) is a big one,” Solskjaer admitted in relation to Amad’s imminent future. 

Solskjaer joked that Elanga’s form was giving him a ‘great problem’ and, with two more pre-season friendlies scheduled before Amad returns from Tokyo, the Swedish forward has more opportunities to push his way into Solskjaer’s plans. 

That ‘great problem’ isn’t going away any time soon.