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Sunderland v Luton Town: Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Semi-Final First Leg

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The uncomfortable truth about Amad Diallo

Whilst the romantic in me wants to believe Sunderland have a chance of signing Amad in January, I’m setting my expectations low in order to avoid being disappointed.

Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Sunderland AFC and Amad Diallo are a match made in heaven.

It’s clear that the love we the fans and Amad share is special, and that’s a bond that will never be broken. I have no doubts that he will go down as one of the greatest — if not THE greatest — loan signing in the history of this football club.

He left us on fantastic terms over the summer, and ever since his last game in a Sunderland shirt in the playoff semi at Luton there has been a feeling that there just might be a possibility of him returning at some point in a red and white shirt. Many have convinced themselves that such a return could happen as soon as this January.

Yet, I can’t help but feel that we’re ignoring the uncomfortable truth here.

The Amad of today is very different to the Amad that we signed last season. He was nowhere near the first team picture at Manchester United, low on confidence following a seriously underwhelming loan at Glasgow Rangers, and desperately needing a proper opportunity to kick on somewhere and prove his credentials.

He undoubtedly did that with us, and he left Wearside a far better player than the one that arrived. One that I fully believe will now go on to play regular first team football for Manchester United.

Nottingham Forest v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Mark Leech/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Anyone who has watched Manchester United this season would surely concede that they would hugely benefit from having Amad around their side. They’ve just about gotten by this season with Rashford, Garnacho and Antony, and Jadon Sancho has been shipped out after falling out of favour with Erik Ten Hag. Rashford is a proven top class player but has been woefully out of form for huge chunks of the campaign, and the less said about Antony the better — even despite his huge price tag and the fact he’s a favourite of their manager, nobody can convince me that he’s better than Amad. He’s painfully one-footed and doesn’t create or score goals. Amad is on another level to him ability-wise.

Timing has been cruel to Amad, because had he not sustained a serious injury in pre-season I have no doubt he’d have played a part — either from the bench or starting in games — in almost every game so far this season for the Red Devils. He’d certainly have featured on a similar basis to what Garnacho has, I’d say.

As most of us know, Amad was a big money signing at €40m, and Manchester United are going to want to see a return on that investment at some stage.

Is sending him back on loan to the Championship really the best course of action, especially given that they need talented wide players in their squad?

I’m fairly certain that if he was made available for loan there would be plenty of offers from other Premier League clubs willing to take him — and from their perspective, Amad would be better off testing himself by playing regularly in the top flight than he would doing what he’s already done, and returning back to the Championship in an environment where he’s already more than proven himself.

It doesn’t give me any pleasure to point all of this out, but I feel like it needs saying.

Luton Town v Sunderland: Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Semi-Final Second Leg Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

The leaked private messages between a Sunderland fan and Amad on Tuesday night were very clear - he stated that if he was going to go to a Championship club on loan, he wouldn’t go anywhere else but to Sunderland.

In the words of Lloyd Christmas... “So, you’re telling me there’s a chance?”

Of course there’s a chance. Even if it’s slim, there’s a chance.

But if it happens I’m sure it’ll all be last minute, chaotic and emotional.

I just wouldn’t hang your hat on it. Even if the club are absolutely desperate to bring him back, what they want is completely secondary to what Manchester United want. If they think he can play a part for the remainder of the season — and if you believe what Simon Jones of the Daily Mail wrote on Tuesday, that is unfortunately their plan, a story which has been corroborated by Fabrizio Romano — then there’s really not a great deal that Sunderland can do about it.

Wey... At least he’s not going to Middlesbrough, eh?


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