Manchester United don’t need to bend over backwards to sign Kieran Trippier this summer if the deal isn’t right – that’s because Diogo Dalot is back at Old Trafford and has quietly impressed during pre-season.
Dalot spent last season out on loan at AC Milan after being bizarrely frozen out by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer towards the end of the 2019/20 campaign – even Timothy Fosu-Mensah got a reprieve before the United boss was prepared to turn to Dalot. But he has been involved in United’s summer friendlies and even marked the last of the practice games against Everton with a goal.
United have been interested in Trippier since it became apparent the former Spurs right-back is ready to leave Atletico Madrid after two years in Spain and return home to England.
Trippier would represent a strong addition to the United squad, providing competition and depth in the right-back role alongside Aaron Wan-Bissaka, perhaps mirroring the impact that last October’s capture of Alex Telles had on the performances of Luke Shaw. He also has different strengths to Wan-Bissaka and so could add a different dimension.
But while it was thought that Trippier might be a relatively easy signing, the reality has so far proven to be a little different. Atletico’s asking price for the England international is thought to be up to £30m, which is steep for an almost 31-year-old into the final two seasons of his contract.
Trippier has been tipped to wait it out for a potential move to Old Trafford, although he may ultimately be out of luck as The Athletic has since reported that United aren’t willing to take things forward unless there is a drastic change in Atletico’s stance over price.
Dalot’s presence back at Old Trafford, despite being made available again this summer, will soften any blow of missing out on the overly-expensive Trippier.
The 22-year-old Portuguese wasn’t a regular starter for AC Milan while on loan last season but did make 33 appearances in all competitions and played his way into his country’s squad for Euro 2020.
Milan are thought to have been interested in taking him again but were unable to strike an agreement with United and now look likely to land Alessandro Florenzi instead. It doesn’t look there have been any other takers for Dalot, who has had little choice but to get his head down and work hard since reporting for training as a United player earlier this summer.
Wan-Bissaka remains the preferred starter for Solskjaer. Yet the former Crystal Palace star has had precious little competition for his place ever since arriving at Old Trafford in 2019 and that isn’t a healthy position for either him or the squad to be in.
Having another right-back to push him is crucial. But if it can’t be Trippier, Dalot ticks that box.
Fans were impressed when he first arrived as an untested teenager from Porto in 2018 and he still has plenty of time on his side to make good on that potential. There is no reason he cannot do that with United this season and beyond, proving himself as a valuable squad member.