Pellistri and Amad, two young prospects getting lost?

July 31st, 2022 | Football

In 2020 Manchester United made four deadline day signings in the wake of a disappointing first few games of the season and a humiliating 6-1 defeat to Tottenham. Left-back Alex Telles and experienced striker Edinson Cavani were both brought in, but deals were also agreed for two eighteen-year-old prospects in Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo, with Pellistri joining immediately and Amad remaining at Atalanta until the January transfer window due to issues surrounding a passport, work permit and personal-terms.

Both wingers were highly rated at their respective clubs, Penarol and Atalanta. Both signings cost the club a decent amount of money as well, highlighting how highly rated both players were at the time, with Pellistri costing around €10,000,000 and Amad costing around €30,000,000, with potential bonuses taking the fee closer to €40,000,000.

While both signings were very exciting at the time, there was a feel of panic around them. This was the window where Manchester United tried to sign Jadon Sancho with no success, eventually signing the England international a year later.

I’m not suggesting United picked two young random right-wingers. I believe both players were scouted and rated by the club, but there was little to no noise about the transfers prior to deadline day and you wonder, if they weren’t slightly reactionary signings, why there were left until the last day of the window.

It’s now 2022, so I’ve decided to look at how both players have got on since their arrivals and what I believe the future holds for the talented pair.

Straight away I feel I should make it clear I rate both Pellistri and Amad. I’ve watched both extensively and am lucky enough to have seen both players live playing for the first-team. I saw Pellistri in a pre-season friendly against Brentford at Old Trafford and saw Amad in a 1-1 draw against BSC Young Boys in the Champions League.

Pellistri and Amad have some similarities but are quite different in terms of their style. While the pair are both primarily right-wingers, their approach play in possession is where they are different. Pellistri is right footed and plays on the right, which is a trend that seems to be dying out in the modern game. Pellistri likes to take on his full-back in one-on-one situations whenever possible and doesn’t shy away when surrounded, always accepting the opportunity to try and dribble his way through trouble. Pellistri often goes on the outside of defenders to keep the ball on his stronger right foot. Amad is more varied. He also takes on his defender, but mixes up the way he approaches attacks. Sometimes he goes on the inside, other times he goes on the outside. He is left-footed, however he doesn’t let this define his game in the sense he doesn’t constantly try and cut inside. He links up more with teammates than Pellistri and has sensational ball control, almost like the ball is glued to his feet. Amad also seems more of a natural goal scorer and possess fantastic movement inside the box, often finding space in-between centre-backs and full-backs. Pellistri is very much more of a throwback winger, while Amad is an intricate, playmaking, inverted more modern style of winger.

Both players have represented their countries at senior level (Pellistri with Uruguay and Amad with the Ivory Coast). Pellistri is a regular for Uruguay, impressing his coach Diego Alonso who has continually selected Pellistri despite limited minutes on loan at Alaves.Amadhas struggled to get into the Ivory Coast reckoning this season, likely due to a first-half of the season disrupted by injury, and limited game time on loan at Rangers.

Both players didn’t have the best loan spells. Pellistricouldn’t establish himself at Alaves, failing to make a single ninety minuteappearance, while Amad started well at Rangers, but struggled to get back into a team that performed well in Europa and did alright domestically.

Despite the struggles on loan, it’s obvious both have very good potential. I personally believe they have bright futures in the game and I hope they get chances in the Manchester United set-up. At just twenty years old, they have plenty of time on their side. I personally believe both Pellistri and Amad need a better loan move this season. Manchester United have to put the work in and find a club where they’re going to get a real run in the team.I would prefer to see both players remain in England, perhaps with loan moves to the Championship or a bottom-half side in the Premier League.

I rate both players really highly, but I have to say I personally believe the current ability and potential of Amad is higher then that of Pellistri. Amad has played for Manchester United on the senior stage and has performed really well. I remember he scored against AC Milan in the Europa League and made plenty of exciting cameo appearances. Another moment I remember of Amad is when Solskjaer fielded a heavily rotated team against Wolves, ahead of the Europa League final, and played Amad up front as a false-nine. This performance sticks in my mind because he looked like the real deal against a very physical and solid Wolves team. I believe if Amad builds up some match fitness, he could compete for a first-team spot at United sooner rather than later. That’s not to say Pellistri can’t do that, I just believe Amad is currently in a better position to compete.

Jack Dixon