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West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Amad Diallo - The Ivorian who travelled Europe and found his mojo at Sunderland

The top players come up with moments of sheer quality to break the deadlock or win the biggest and most important matches - something Amad Diallo has done repeatedly this season in a Sunderland shirt.

Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Something that has been mentioned frequently over the last few days since our 3-0 win at Preston is that as the result means Sunderland enter the play-offs, it means we get to see Amad Diallo in our colours for at least two, possibly three more games.

It's fair to say that Sunderland fans have taken the Manchester United loanee completely to their hearts with his performances this season. Although he arrived last summer, he didn’t initially win a regular place in our starting eleven until October, but from then on he didn’t look back. His goal contribution has been exceptional when you consider where he plays, and has been a significant factor in helping a side that has operated without an out-and-out striker for long spells of the season.

Also consider his approach play in linking up attacks, his combinations with Patrick Roberts which are a cut above for the Championship and his willingness to get stuck in and help the team out when they are under the cosh.

Without a doubt he is up there with the best loan signings Sunderland have had over the years.

Preston North End v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Martin Swinney/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

It is astonishing that he is still only twenty years old. He cost Manchester United a reported £37 million pounds two years ago as an 18 year old, and after only four senior appearances for Atalanta. Yet, in the months that followed at Old Trafford and then in a half season loan at Rangers, things did not go smoothly for Amad who had few opportunities to land on his feet.

You can imagine the weight of expectation that was on his shoulders after Manchester United paid such a large fee for an 18 year old who had hardly played any senior football. Indeed there are several notable cases of players who have disappeared without raising much more of a whimper of a supposed promising career.

Once Amad got his break on Wearside however, he immediately began to blossom. He has won the adulation of the fans, and you can see he has taken to them too.

I've always been wary of players who kiss the badge of whatever club they are playing for, but at the final whistle on Monday you could see when he clenched his arms in a ‘yes!’ celebration how delighted he was that such an important result had been secured.

Preston North End v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

Along with the likes of Edouard Michut and Joe Gelhardt who were leading the celebrations with the fans, a big feature of this season has been how our loan signings have got on board and bought into the cause.

You look at Amad coming from Manchester United with all his obvious talent, for a year with Sunderland, but never at any point has he displayed any prima donna attitude. I’m sure that I am not alone in saying I feel delighted that he has found his mojo on Wearside.

How far can he go?

Well, we have been watching him show outrageous bits of skill all season. Take another look at his goal at Preston on Monday.

He really had no time to think and after watching it a few times I’m sure he didn’t even look up. It was admittedly in ‘Diallo territory’, where he likes to take a shot from, but still nonetheless an absolutely stunning strike.

In the context that it broke the deadlock in a crucially important game, it was something that a top player would do with utter ruthlessness. The top players come up with moments of sheer quality to break the deadlock or win the biggest and most important matches.

Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Martin Swinney/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

He will be with us for two, maybe three more games.

I know he made a few comments after the game hinting that he could return to Sunderland but if we are honest he is a Manchester United player and he himself wants to make his name at Old Trafford, which this fan has no problem with.

If you were the Manchester United manager you would want to see what he could do in the Premier League after proving himself in the Championship, if not with the Reds, then with another team and that would only be Sunderland if we won the play-offs.

I think we will see Amad Diallo again after this season, but probably not in a Sunderland shirt. All I wish for is that if he does - and it would be inevitable - produce an outrageous goal against us, is that he remembers the club that let him find his feet and show the fans respect, because we will always respect him.


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