Amad Diallo made his first appearance of the season for Atalanta as he prepares for his New Year move to Manchester United.
Atalanta won 2-0 at Liverpool last Wednesday to keep their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League round-of-16 alive but Diallo was excluded from their 23-man squad at Anfield.
Diallo replaced Papu Gomez in the 77th minute at the Gewiss Stadium with Atalanta 1-0 down to Verona but six minutes after his arrival Mattia Zaccagni struck to end the contest.
In his 18 minutes, Diallo attempted one shot and the WyScout system recorded 20 ‘actions’, 14 of which were deemed ‘successful’.
Diallo played nine accurate passes, with only one inaccurate, embarked on a dribble, made two ‘progressive runs’, won five of his eight duels, was harshly booked for a late challenge and fouled twice. Verona midfielder Miguel Veloso was cautioned for upending Diallo.
Positioned on the right wing, the left-footed Diallo cut inside from and bundled past three players to get off a shot in the 89th minute which was blocked. Diallo attempted three passes into the final third, creating an opportunity for Marco Sportiello to test the goakeeper.
Diallo could appear in up to seven more games for Atalanta, provided United arrange for him to move to Manchester at the start of January, and their coach Gian Piero Gasperini conceded his players were fatigued against Verona.
“With the national team break, we left some players and found others. We are paying for it,” Gasperini said. “Today the team played an excellent match up to the penalty.
“We wasted many favourable situations but in attack there was some fatigue, due to Liverpool and the COVID that penalised us during the week.”
United signed Diallo, 18, for £19million rising to £37m from Atalanta on deadline day last month and pencilled in his arrival date for January in order to finalise a work permit.
The MEN first revealed United’s interest in Diallo and reported at the time the deal was ‘not straightforward’ due to the forward’s passport issues. Diallo was born in the Ivory Coast and moved to Italy at a young age.
United confirmed the signing of Diallo was ‘subject to medical, personal terms and work permit’ and he was an unused substitute in seven games this season prior to his cameo against Verona.
Diallo was first discovered by United in 2016 in an Under-15 match and he was continually recommended up to his career debut in October 2019. The club’s head of academy recruitment Dave Harrison, chief scouts Marcel Bout and Jim Lawlor, as well as the technical chief scout Mick Court all filed reports on Diallo’s development.
Diallo became the youngest player, at 17 years and 109 days old, to score on his Serie A debut in Atalanta’s 7-1 thrashing of Udinese last season and travelled with the squad to Lisbon for their Champions League quarter-final defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in August.