It won’t be great news for the likes of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial or Memphis Depay, but reports this week are again linking Manchester United with a move for Lazio’s Keita Diao.
The Red Devils have been keen on the forward for a number of years, and according to AS, United have registered their interest in the 21-year-old.
Blessed with dazzling pace and footwork, Keita is reminiscent of a young Cristiano Ronaldo, but the Senegal international also shares a lot in common with Lionel Messi.
Like the Argentine wonder, Keita came through the youth system at Barcelona, but after being sent on loan to satellite side UE Cornella, refused to return to Barca in 2011 following a dispute between player and club.
Despite interest from United and Real Madrid, it was Lazio who Keita turned to in order to develop his career.
The winger spent his first two years in Italy starring for Lazio’s youth teams, before he was finally handed his debut in September 2013, aged 18.
Lazio were seemingly right to delay Keita’s first-team breakthrough, as the Spanish-born player never looked back, scoring 11 times in that debut campaign, plus nine assists.
The 2014/15 season saw Keita continue to develop in the first team, with four goals and four assists, leading to a marked improvement last term.
Keita featured in 31 league games last season for I biancocelesti, with five strikes and eight set-ups for his team-mates.
The statistics draw further similarities to Ronaldo’s early days at Old Trafford, before the Portuguese ace took it to another level in his fourth full season.
This term will be Keita’s fourth full season, so United could risk paying a lot more if they decide to wait another 12 months.
With reports suggesting the club are already willing to pay £28m for one of Europe’s brightest talents, will Lazio hold their resolve this summer, and hope Keita follows Ronaldo’s example with a breakthrough fourth campaign?
Having grown up in the same youth system which brought us Lionel Messi, but with the style and statistics of Ronaldo, can Jose Mourinho afford to wait for Keita Diao?
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.