Manchester United defender Diogo Dalot was once tipped to emulate Gary Neville and become the club’s starting right-back for a decade by manager Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho signed Dalot for United from Porto back in 2018 and described him as the “best young full-back in Europe”.
After Dalot made his first-ever Premier League start in a 2-2 draw with Arsenal, Mourinho went on to compare him to United legend Neville.
“The kid Diogo, fantastic,” Mourinho said. “Gary Neville must be thinking now Manchester United has a right-back for 10 years, a very good right-back for 10 years.”
However, things have not worked out that way for the Portuguese international, with Mourinho getting sacked just 13 days after that game against Arsenal.
Since then, Dalot has made just 16 league appearances under Mourinho’s replacement Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the last of which was in June 2019.
Dalot was sent out on loan to AC Milan last season, where he made a total of 34 appearances in all competitions.
Reports have claimed that the Serie A side are keen to bring him back, but Calcio Mercato are reporting that Milan are now considering Alvaro Odriozola and Serge Aurier as potential alternatives.
Solskjaer is keen to bring in some competition for Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back and Kieran Trippier has emerged as United’s top target.
However, Atletico Madrid are reluctant to sell the full-back, with manager Diego Simeone a big fan of the full-back.
Atletico are said to value him at around €40m (£34m), a figure much higher than United are thought to be willing to pay.
As a result, the Red Devils could be forced to consider alternatives and they could turn to Dalot.
During his loan stint at Milan, Solskjaer did suggest that he could still have a future at Old Trafford, saying: “The plan was always for Diogo this season, or the main thing for Diogo, was to be fit.
“Now he’s kept fit all season; he’s been available for them. He’s playing at a big club, big expectations, [with the] great history of the club, so it’s been a good year for him.
“So, of course, I’ve been very pleased with his development this season, and he’s our player and we’re looking forward to having him back.”
Having already agreed a £72.9m deal with Borussia Dortmund over the transfer of Jadon Sancho and with Real Madrid reportedly demanding around €50m (£43m) for Raphael Varane, it seems unlikely that United will be able to spend big on a right-back.
That could either mean that Dalot is used to provide competition for Wan-Bissaka or he gets sold, along with several other fringe players, in a bid to raise the necessary funds to sign Trippier.