Diogo Dalot has struggled to make an impact this season and is yet to start in the Premier League for Manchester United but has now insisted he was intent on staying at the club following his impressive loan spell at AC Milan last season.
The Portugal international spent the entirety of last year on loan at the San Siro and returned to United in good stead, having received his first senior call-up for Portugal for last summer’s European Championship.
There was some speculation over the summer whether Dalot would remain at Old Trafford. The young defender has less than two years remaining on his current deal but has now admitted to his desire to stay at the club.
“I had two struggling years with my body,” Dalot told The Telegraph. “My body was changing and I had some injuries and needed to step up to get to the other players’ level in terms of fitness. It wasn’t growing pains.
“You adapt, then you get injured and when you return the team is at a high level of intense training, playing games. I was probably pushing too much and my body was not dealing very well with that adapting.
“That is why I knew last season was massive for me. My body was feeling those changes and when I went to Milan it was perfect to balance everything and return to this season. That is why I wanted to stay here, fight for games and be an important player for the team.
“I wanted to stay here and the club trusted me to stay here. My mind was completely focused on having an important role in this team.”
As specified in the report, Borussia Dortmund were interested in Dalot over the summer but the subject was a non-starter and Dalot instead decided to stay.
SN’s verdict on Dalot’s future at Manchester United…
The 22-year-old clearly has a great work ethic but there isn’t a clear pathway into the first-team at Manchester United at the time of writing. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has started all 11 of the Premier League games so far this season and Dalot’s only two starts came in the Carabao Cup and the Champions League, with one of them only being due to Wan-Bissaka’s suspension.
There are, however, questions over Wan-Bissaka’s attacking output – a department where Dalot undeniably holds the upper hand on his English counterpart. But at the other end of the pitch, there is no discussion as to who comes out on top.
Solskjaer’s decision to unequivocally back Wan-Bissaka doesn’t reflect well on Dalot but he will draw inspiration from it. He will have just one year remaining on his deal at United next summer and unless he commits to a long-term deal, an exit is possible.