Manchester United are hopeful of signing Porto full-back Diogo Dalot before the end of this week, Goal understands.
The 19-year-old, who is a natural right-back but can also play on the left, has been followed extensively by United in recent months as they look for a long-term solution in their defensive ranks. He was also named in Goal’s NxGn XI – a squad made up of the greatest teenagers in the game earlier this year.
Current first-choices Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young both turn 33 before the start of the 2018-19 season, and Jose Mourinho has told United’s money-makers that he needs deeper stocks in the wide roles.
United have resolved to meet Dalot’s buyout clause of €20 million (£17.5m/$23m), and a source close to the operation says the Red Devils are hoping to have the deal done before the week is out.
Dalot has only seven senior appearances to his name, including a single Champions League outing in the 0-0 draw away to losing finalists Liverpool in March, but United have been impressed enough with his performances at youth level and his early form in the Porto first team to make a play for the youngster.
In 2016 Dalot was a member of the Portugal side which won the Euro Under-17 Championship and even scored his side’s goal in the final against Spain, while 12 months on he was a beaten finalist in the Under-19 edition as Portugal lost to England in Georgia.
A naturally right-footed player, Dalot has shown his versatility by also playing on the left side throughout his Porto career. Most notably, his Champions League debut at Anfield came as a left-back as the Portuguese side shuffled the pack following a 5-0 leg loss at the Estadio do Dragao.
The expected addition of Dalot comes at a time when United are preparing for the departure of Matteo Darmian to Juventus for around £10m, while Daley Blind is also set to leave Old Trafford this summer. Luke Shaw’s future is also still to be decided with only one year left on his contract with the Red Devils.
Manager Mourinho is keen to make moves quickly in this summer’s transfer market, with the earlier closure on August 9 giving the club three fewer weeks to do deals compared to previous years.
And while United are also runaway favourites to snap up Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred, Dalot could yet be the first of their signings this summer.