Report: Man United feel £19m man could one day replace Bruno Fernandes as captain

His presence in the Manchester United side may still cause divisions among some sections of the Red Devils fanbase but, inside Old Trafford, there is no doubting the long-serving defender’s popularity.

And it is always tempting to think back to a Champions League match played in the last days of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure, while debating how far he has come in his two years under Erik ten Hag.

Villarreal destroyed Manchester United along the right side, with Cristiano Ronaldo saving them for the umpteenth time that evening.

Diogo Dalot was ripped limb from limb by Arnaut Danjuma’s speed and cunning the entire time, giving the impression of a youngster playing a man’s game.

It seemed like there was only going to be one possible outcome for Dalot’s Man United career at the time.

Two years on, the Portugal international is making room on his mantelpiece for both an FA Cup winners’ medal and United’s Players’ Player of the Year award. It’s been quite the turnaround.

Is Diogo Dalot a future Manchester United captain?

In 2018, Jose Mourinho stated that his countryman Dalot had the ability to develop into “a great player for this club” after he signed the adolescent player from FC Porto for a fee of £19 million (BBC Sport).

After six years, Mourinho’s forecast seems to be just one more gem of football knowledge to add to his already impressive collection.

According to Give Me Sport, Dalot, who is currently 25 years old, is the model player that Ineos hopes to bring to Old Trafford going forward. Young, insatiably curious, full of potential, and reasonably priced.

United’s redesigned strategy is probably going to centre on eliminating the middleman; that is, making an informed gamble on a player before he signs with a team further down the Premier League ladder and greatly increasing his value.

According to Give Me Sport, Dalot is also considered by United’s internal team as a future club captain in the event that current captain Bruno Fernandes is traded in the upcoming months.

Even if staying put is Fernandes’ main goal, he is looking for a new deal (The Guardian). With so many miles on their record at 29 years old, Ineos might think about cashing in if they receive an offer they can’t refuse.

Bruno Fernandes’ future uncertain at Old Trafford

With United expected to move on from some of their most experienced players – Raphael Varane and Anthony Martial have gone already, with Casemiro and Christian Eriksen expected to follow – Dalot will be one of the old heads in a more youthful dressing room next season.

“It is about making overloads in midfield and, from there on, he is a very good runner in behind,” Ten Hag says of Dalot, the full-back’s versatility and tactical intelligence making him one of the most important cogs in the Dutchman’s machine.

“He can do it from left and right full-back. He can attack from there but also in the centre areas and on wide areas, by bringing crosses in. He is a player who has developed as a full-back. And not as just as a full-back, but also as an inverted one too.

“I think his development has been very good this season. We are very pleased with him.”

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