Manchester United will be coming up against one of their own players on Thursday evening as they do battle with AC Milan.
The Red Devils welcome the Italian giants to Old Trafford for the first-leg of their UEFA Europa League last-16 tie. They will be also welcoming back a familiar face in the form of right-back Diogo Dalot.
The young Portuguese joined Milan on-loan at the start of 2020/21 season and he has certainly impressed in his time in Italy, form that could see him stake a claim for a place in the Manchester United squad next season.
So far this season, he has made 21 appearances in all competitions, scoring two goals and getting as many assists, an impressive count for a full-back.
He has also played a role in Milan racking up one of the most impressive defensive statistics of the season having only conceded 30 goals – only more than Napoli, Inter Milan and Juventus.
His individual statistics have also caught the eye having improved considerably from his time with the Red Devils. Between 2018 and 2020, the 21-year-old was only averaging 1.2 tackles, 0.9 interceptions, 1.7 clearances and 0.2 blocks per game according to WhoScored.
These numbers have increased to 1.8, 1.8, 1.8 and 0.3 respectively – a huge improvement.
Dalot’s numbers and performances suggest that the Portuguese ace could well be ready to return to Old Trafford and challenge for the right-back berth come the end of the campaign, despite his agent seemingly suggesting another loan deal is on the cards.
After all, former manager Jose Mourinho talked the full-back up, saying he was “fantastic” and that he could be in the United team for “ten years”.
Should Dalot not have proved Ole Gunnar Soslkjaer wrong yet with his performances in Milan, he could certainly do that with a sparkling display in the two team’s meeting at Old Trafford on Thursday.
He’s certainly done enough to warrant a place in the United squad next season, whether he’s given that place remains to be seen.