Manchester United aiming for short-term pain and long-term gain

Manchester United signing Amad Traore (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)
Manchester United signing Amad Traore (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images) /

A frantic end to the transfer window saw Manchester United sign Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo.

When the news came through at the very end of the transfer window that Manchester United had signed an exciting, right winger, every United fan was thinking that somehow the club had managed to sign Jadon Sancho after Borussia Dortmund had said the Englishman was going to stay.

But then more information trickled out and instead of Jadon Sancho, it was Amad Diallo and Facundo Pellistri that the Red Devils had signed. It didn’t matter whether you were a United fan in the United States or England, the universal response to this piece of news was “Who?”.

I must admit, I was one of those fans who had no idea who Diallo and Pellistri were but a quick search on Youtube and suddenly I was seeing insane dribbling highlights.  And while United had been absolutely demolished by Tottenham the day before, I was suddenly more optimistic for the future.

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The signings of Diallo and Pellistri had only further strengthened the crop of exciting youngsters the club had.

Amad Diallo had been described by former Atalanta teammate and Argentinean international Papu Gomez as “just like Messi” and “in training, we have to kick him yo get him off the ball.

Whilst, that might seem like an exaggeration by Gomez, Diallo’s first Serie A goal certainly backed up that claim when after coming on as a substitute in the 76th, he embarked on a mazy run from inside his own half before rifling a shot from 20 meters out.

How often have we seen Messi do that time and time again with Barcelona? The more incredible thing about that goal was that he was only 17 years old when he scored that goal, becoming the youngest goalscorer ever in Serie A.

Now, I’m saying he’s immediately going to be banging in goals from all corners of the pitch but it is undeniable that the kid has talent, how many 17-year-olds are scoring goals like that? Not a lot if any is the answer. It’s no wonder Manchester United scouts have tracking him since he was 15 and have identified him as one of the top 3 talents in the world born in 2002.

I’ve raved long enough about Amad Diallo, let me now talk like a madman about Facundo Pellistri. Perhaps, even more, unknown than Diallo, at least in Europe. The Uruguayan has been making big waves in South America, with former Argentina superstar Juan Roman Riquelme praising him and saying that “He is young, talented, he hasn’t played that much but you can see he is a real rascal with the ball at his feet. And that is important.

There aren’t many like him around, who have the courage to be so cheeky on the pitch. That is highly valuable.” Indeed, Red Devils cult hero Deigo Forlan who managed Pellistri’s old club Penarol had said he knew “it would be difficult to keep him for a long time” with interest in the young Uruguayan from elite clubs in Europe and Boca Juniors before Manchester United swooped in.

Quick and with already quality from out wide at the tender age of 18, it’s no wonder that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already announced that Pellistri will be given the chance to stake his claim in the first-team.

The signings of Pellistri and Diallo may smell of desperation from Ed Woodward in order to placate the many United fans who were baying for his blood on Twitter but it fits in with a transfer strategy that is centred on youth.

Diallo and Pellistri are not the only youngsters to have made the switch to United in recent times, Charlie McNeil who was prolific at youth level for Manchester City made the move to United this transfer window and then there is, of course, Hannibal Mejbri who Man Utd had to fend off the likes of Bayern Munich and Paris St Germain to sign the talented playmaker.

Whether this is actually a transfer strategy that is going to actually work is anyone’s guess, there is a possibility that all these precocious talents will become flops but if it works United will be able to have a period of sustained challenge for the Premier League and the Champions League.

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Whilst, the immediate future will be painful for many a United fan, if we can get past this bleak period, there is a high possibility that the long-term benefits of signing exciting, young players will be more than worth it in the end.