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Former Primavera manager on Djalo’s transfer from Milan: “The right choice”

Amid speculation that AC Milan could attempt to bring Tiago Djalo back to the club, the former Primavera manager has spoken about his time in the Rossoneri’s youth set-up and whether his departure is a regret for the club.

The Portuguese central defender arrived in 2019 and impressed in his early days in the Primavera, however, he left the club shortly after to join LOSC Lille as part of a deal for Rafael Leao. In recent years, though, he has only grown into the player that his potential suggested he would, becoming a starter for Lille and winning Ligue 1 in the process.

As a result of his rise, he has become a highly coveted target for European clubs, and the Rossoneri themselves have reportedly been interested in bringing the centre-back back to the club, especially considering his contract expires later this year.

Former Primavera manager Federico Giunti spoke to Gazzetta dello Sport, and his comments were relayed by MilanNews.

How was Djalo’s time with Milan?

“He arrived in January and I remember that he gave us a great hand. We immediately saw that he was a player with enormous potential. He was not only technical but also gifted with great intuition and timing. He had great running in space and a well-placed physique, yet he was also agile and fast. Although he was right-handed, he preferred to play on the centre-left.

“He was part of an ambitious project because there were so many youngsters. Over half the squad was under-age, most between 17 and 18, and Djalo was a sort of senator along with Bellanova. It took little to convince me to start him and I remember many good performances. He was one who stood out in a team that was of a high level anyway because there were Brescianini, Brambilla and Daniel Maldini who was just starting out,” he said.

“I remember him holding his own against players like Piccoli, Kulusevski, in short, strong people. He was already spoken of highly at the time, now he’s a man in the market who is coveted by many.”

Is he a regret for Milan?

“It’s difficult to speak after the fact. Milan made a choice, they sold a player who at the time was not considered ready for the first team and they did it for someone like Leao, so you can’t say anything. It can happen that clubs let young players leave who then explode in the years to come, it is not a scandal and you cannot even speak of a mistake.

“Also no matter how promising a young player is, there is always the risk of some variable hindering his growth or explosion. The choice made at the time by Milan was certainly the right one for the times and circumstances in which it was made.”

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