‘Ones to watch in 2010’ – Mame Diouf

Benzema, Villa, Aguero. All names linked with Manchester United in the summer. None of them came however and instead they signed Michael Owen and an unknown Senegalese footballer who played for unfortunately named Norwegian club Molde. Mame Biram Diouf was signed on the advice of another Old Moldonian and United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and, as such, the expectations are bigger than they’d usually be for a completely unknown, not amazingly young striker bought from a (with all due respect) rubbish league.

Built like a brick outhouse and looking like a stoned 50 cent, Diouf has already scored for United, on his home debut against Burnley, since arriving this January after he was loaned back to Molde for the first half of the season. He also grabbed a hat trick for the reserves on his first outing instigating the rather ironic (in fact almost completely ironic) messianic status amongst humorous United fans. But the joke could become less of one if he can live up to his early billing as the new Solskjaer.

As “The New Whoever” comparisons go, this one is possibly the most bizarre seeing as Diouf is big, powerful, fast but slightly sloppy and raw in his technique and Solskjaer was, well, almost exactly the opposite in every way. However with United missing a young natural goal scoring machine (which Diouf certainly was in Norway) and with some of the best possible support on offer, it’s not that far fetched to imagine Arsenal might not be the only team capable of finding young promising Franco-African unknowns and turning them into superstars.

Occupying Carlos Tevez’ old number and already creating several chances for himself in his fleeting appearances so far, Mame Diouf (pronounced a bit like Marmaduke, only with different letters) is definitely one to watch this year. If United don’t add to their striking arsenal in the summer, he could get a great chance to make a name and a place for himself at Old Trafford. Or of course he could be loaned out to Hull City and never be heard of again, like United’s previous young promising unknown stealth signing Manucho. At this stage, it could go either way, but with a goal at the Streford End already under his belt, and with Sir Alex Ferguson clearly trusting enough in his ability to bring him on away at Birmingham only the day after he arrived in England, this one could be bit special. You heard it here first…unless you heard someone else on the internet months ago of course.

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