Diogo Dalot is reportedly poised to sign a new and improved contract at Manchester United – and with it push another star a step closer towards the exit door.
The Red Devils welcomed Diogo Dalot back into the first-team fold in the summer after a loan spell with AC Milan. He made 21 appearances in Serie A, which was the most he had ever played in a league season.
Upon his return, the full-back may have had doubts about matching those numbers in Manchester.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka remained ahead of him in the pecking order.
As such, there were links with a return to Italy with Roma, where he would have reunited with Jose Mourinho.
But Dalot’s situation changed between that time and the January transfer window.
Indeed, the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and appointment of Ralf Rangnick as interim manager opened a new door for Dalot.
He has been regarded a better fit for Rangnick’s tactics than Wan-Bissaka.
As such, he has made 12 appearances since Rangnick took charge.
Wan-Bissaka has only made three, although illness was to blame for his absence for some games last month.
However, Dalot’s huge improvement at Old Trafford is reportedly due to earn the Portuguese star a new deal.
He currently has 15 months left on his deal and United are wary of the growing interest in his talents.
Now the Daily Star claims United are ready to open talks with Dalot over a new and improved deal.
United have the option to trigger a 12-month option on Dalot’s deal, though may also reward him with a payrise too to reflect his progress.
Dalot extension bad news for Wan-Bissaka
The article states that Dalot’s extension will enhance the prospects of Wan-Bissaka moving on this summer.
The £50m signing from Crystal Palace in July 2019 has not featured at all since the January 3 defeat to Wolves.
And Wan-Bissaka will have just two years remaining on his deal come the summer – meaning United may look to move him on.
They would not collect anything like the fee they paid for him three years ago, however.
At the time he became the most expensive uncapped England player in history. Three years on and a first senior cap now looks further away than ever.
Dalot, by contrast, made his full debut for Portugal at the European Championships and now has four caps to his name.
Star reflects on his United progress
Dalot, meanwhile, has been reflecting on his development during a recent Q&A.
“I’ve had the opportunity to say a few times now. My journey here at this club has been a quite good experience for me; learning my timings and getting to know me as a player as well,” Dalot said.
“Now, as I’ve said, I always believed I could be a very good option for this club as a right-back. Like I’ve said, I want to be here for a lot of time, playing lots of games.
That was my main goal to be at this club. Now, I’m having the opportunity to play a few more games and it’s been very good for me.”
Asked about the toughest opponent he has faced, Dalot gave a somewhat surprising response.
“I’m going to say, in training, Anthony Martial.
“And playing, I’m going to say probably Lionel Messi when we played him at Barca.”