The Red Devils shelled out a significant sum for the teenage star, who has only made three Serie A appearances in his career thus far
Manchester United had been eyeing teenage star Amad Diallo Traore for more than a year, according to Giovanni Galli, the man who discovered the winger and his brother Hamed.
On Monday, the Red Devils confirmed the capture of Amad from Atalanta in a deal that could be worth as much as €41 million (£37m/$48m).
The right-sided attacker is expected to join the club in January and the deal is subject to a medical, personal terms and work permit. Though he is only 18, Diallo is expected to join United’s first team right away.
Galli, who represented Italy as a goalkeeper in the 1980s and was the Azzurri’s No 1 at the 1986 World Cup, recalled the first time he saw Amad and his brother Hamed play.
“Their quality was incredible,” Galli told Football Italia. “They trained with the guys born in 1999. Hamed Junior was born in 2000 and his brother Amad was born in 2002. Despite that, there was a huge gap between them and the others.
“Amad was tremendous. Great technical skills, outstanding personality. The way they touched the ball was different, they did nutmegs and all that. They were on another level.”
Hamed would join Empoli and then Sassuolo, where he is currently on loan, while Amad linked up with Atalanta. Although he has only made three Serie A appearances, Amad has shown enough to convince United he’s worth a fee which is believed to be €21m (£19m/$25m) with a further €20m (£18m/$23m) in add-ons.
“I knew they had been scouting him for over a year,” Galli said of Amad’s new club. “I know a scout of Manchester United very well as we usually meet at games. He used to tell me that the club sent him several times to watch the player.”
Though he is unproven at the senior level, Galli believes that Diallo will show he is worth the investment and has backed the teenager to successfully secure a work permit.
“[The transfer fee] is high, but there is a reason behind it,” Galli said. “[Diallo] still needs to get a work permit since he has not played with his national team yet.
“The club need to have valid reasons to take him to the UK. One reason is that the player is coming from a top team and with Atalanta [having] been playing international competitions over the last few years, there are no problems to prove it.
“The second reason is the price tag. A €40m signing means he is an important investment for the club.
“If the cost would be €1m or €2m it may have been more difficult to get the work permit. That being said, €40m is still a lot of money.”