Saturday 23 February 2019

Dalot: 'United were too big to turn down'

Mourinho backs Portuguese ace to become 'great player' for Reds while Fellaini prepares to leave

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho
New Manchester United signing Diogo Dalot
New Manchester United signing Diogo Dalot, pictured in action against Pacos de Ferreira’s Antonio Xavier last March
Marouane Fellaini is expected to leave United in the summer

Diogo Dalot admitted he could not turn down the chance to join "the biggest club in the world" after completing his move to Manchester United from Porto.

The 19-year-old defender, who is understood to have cost in the region of £19million, has signed a five-year deal with a further 12-month option at Old Trafford.

He joins forces with compatriot Jose Mourinho, who rates the player as "the best full-back in Europe" in his age group.

Dalot said: "Joining Manchester United is an unbelievable opportunity for me. I have grown up in Porto's academy and I am so thankful for everything they have done for me.

"But the chance of coming to the biggest club in the world is something I just couldn't turn down.

"I'm excited about working with Jose Mourinho and learning everything I can from such a successful coach. I am looking forward to playing alongside the fantastic players in the squad."

Dalot only made his Primeira Liga debut in February, but helped Portugal win the European Under-17s European Championships in 2016 and is a current under-21 international.


He said: "The European Championships was when I realised that I could do great things in football and, since then, I've been improving a lot and I hope to improve more.

"I know that this is one of the best clubs in the world and it is unbelievable to be here. I hope to achieve great things."

Mourinho was delighted to get his hands on the Porto academy graduate, of whom he is expecting big things during his time at in England.

The manager said: "Diogo is an extremely talented young defender with all the qualities to quickly become a great player for this club.

"He has all the attributes that a full-back needs: physicality, tactical intelligence and technical quality, combined with a Porto academy mentality which prepares players for the maturity they need at the professional level.

"In his age group, he is the best full-back in Europe and we all believe he has a bright future ahead of him at Manchester United."

Dalot is Mourinho's first Portuguese signing for United, and the teenager is determined to repay the manager's faith in him.

He said: "It's very good. It was very important to make this choice and I hope to help him, because I know that he will help me to improve a lot.

"Age is not very important now in football. I think that if you work and you improve, I think you can handle it."

Meanwhile, Marouane Fellaini will leave United when his contract expires at the end of this month.

Mourinho had been keen to extend the Belgium international's current deal but the former Everton midfielder rejected United's most recent offer which was said to be in the region of £140,000-a-week.

Fellaini was signed by David Moyes in the summer of 2013 and has endured a difficult relationship with the club's fans but has earned the trust of Mourinho. The 30-year-old has, however, opted to seek a fresh challenge but could yet remain in the Premier League.

Fellaini has been the subject of interest from an unnamed top six English club. Arsenal were linked with a move for the versatile midfielder earlier this week, but the club subsequently denied claims they were due to hold talks with the players' representatives.

Serie A sides Milan and Roma are reported to harbour long-term interest in Fellaini, while several Chinese Super Leauge clubs are also said to be monitoring his situation.

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