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United to trigger £17.4million release clause for Portuguese starlet

It’s no secret that Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is keen to strengthen his backline this summer. Despite a rotating cast of characters at centre back, the Portuguese has been underwhelmed by his squad’s strength in depth at both left and right back, preferring Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia on the flanks. Both of these converted wingers are in their early 30s, however, and given that Daley Blind and Matteo Darmian, two players that could offer cover are likely to be sold this summer, reinforcements that the manager can rely on are required.

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It’s a surprise to hear that the former Chelsea boss’ plans to strengthen at the right back will likely include FC Porto’s Diogo Dalot, then, according to the BBC. The Portuguese youngster, 19, has been capped for his country’s Under-21 side and made his debut for the club in October of this past season, and is regarded as an exciting prospect for the future as opposed to a ready-made squad player. That would seem to suit Mourinho, who has great faith in Valencia on the right-hand side of his defence, and given that the Ecuadorian international has another year left on his contract with an option to extend, the inclusion of an understudy makes sense.

It’s a risky proposition for United in some ways. Dalot’s release clause is £17.4m, which is hardly big money for the club. Still, given Mourinho’s perceived lack of patience with young players over his two seasons at Old Trafford and at his previous clubs, there would surely need to be a softening of the Portuguese’s handling of prospective talent in order for Dalot to flourish, unless the 19-year old simply hits the ground running and adapts to life in the Premier League with ease.

On the other hand, with Darmian likely on his way to Juventus, reinforcements are required, and it’s nice to see Mourinho plump for a younger candidate as competition for Valencia given his propensity for picking up experienced talent.

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By Kevin T

Kevin Thatcher is a freelance journalist who's work has featured in various national and international publications, including Mail Online & The Mirror. Kevin has been a Manchester United season ticket holder in South Stand for many years, and writes for RedMancunian to combine both his love for writing, and club.

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