Manchester United player Diogo Dalot is reportedly at the top of Xavi’s transfer shortlist at Barcelona after a great start to the new campaign.
The Red Devils signed Dalot from Portuguese side Porto in summer 2018. He made 16 Premier League appearances during his debut season at Old Trafford, although only six of these lasted for a full 90 minutes.
Dalot struggled with injury during the following campaign. Hip and groin problems limited him to just 11 outings in all competitions, with four of these coming in the league.
The right-back tried to get his career back on track in 2020-21 by joining AC Milan on a season-long loan.
He impressed Milan chiefs and this led to rumours of a permanent switch to Italy. Despite their interest, a transfer didn’t occur and Dalot remained in Manchester.
He began to get the better of Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the battle for a starting spot last term. Ralf Rangnick preferred the Portuguese to his English team-mate due to him being better in the final third.
And new boss Ten Hag seems to share this view. He has given Dalot starts in every Prem game so far this campaign. The defender has also featured in the Europa League matches against Real Sociedad and Sheriff Tiraspol.
In contrast, Wan-Bissaka has played just four minutes of senior football so far.
Diogo Dalot improvement puts Barca on alert
Dalot is looking the best he has ever looked in a Manchester United shirt, so Ten Hag’s tactics are clearly working wonders for him.
The one downside to his good form is transfer interest emerging from a European heavyweight. According to Sport Witness, who cite reports coming out of Spain, Dalot is Xavi’s prime target as he looks to bolster his right-back options.
Barca have previously been pursuing Villarreal’s Argentina international Juan Foyth, who used to play for Tottenham.
However, Dalot’s impressive displays have seen him surpass Foyth and reach the top of Xavi’s wish list.
Barca know the 23-year-old’s United contract expires in June 2023. They think this could result in him pushing for a transfer, to Camp Nou in particular.
The report claims Foyth is too expensive for Barca, but Dalot isn’t. However, it fails to mention how much United would charge for their full-back.
Man Utd can keep La Liga club at bay
Barca may push hard to land Dalot to satisfy Xavi’s demands. But the pursuit might be in vain as Ten Hag and United chiefs have a solid plan to prevent Dalot from leaving.
According to a recent report from the Manchester Evening News, his contract includes the option of a further year.
This is the same for team-mates David De Gea, Luke Shaw, Fred and Marcus Rashford.
Ten Hag is seemingly keen for United to tie down Dalot for an extra year, which would prevent Barca from getting him on the cheap – or at all.
This extension would also give United an extra 12 months to agree on a long-term deal with the player and his agent.
Once a long-term contract is signed, Barca will have little chance of landing Diogo Dalot.
It will be nice for the player to hear that he is picking up interest from a club the size of Barca. However, he will most likely want to continue his development at United, where he is beginning to shine.
Man Utd may not be the force they once were. But Ten Hag is starting to improve several of his players, as well as the team’s results, and this could see them win their first trophy since 2017.
Meanwhile, Anthony Martial is facing an uphill struggle to make the cut for France’s World Cup squad, and his hopes may rest with a favourable decision from Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag.