Atalanta president Antonio Percassi has spoken of his pride at doing a deal with Manchester United for teenager Amad Diallo, who he says was on the radar of the Red Devils for almost 12 months.
Eighteen-year-old winger Diallo was perhaps the most eye-catching of United's signings on transfer deadline day, with eyes immediately drawn to a fee that could reach as much as £37million for a player who has only made three senior appearances.
Diallo will remain in Italy for the remainder of 2020 before joining up with United in January next year, with the club hailing him as "one of the most exciting prospects in Italian football" when they announced his capture.
Although it has been suggested that United turned to Diallo after being repeatedly blocked in their efforts to sign Jadon Sancho, Percassi says the two clubs were in discussion for a long time.
“The negotiation with Manchester lasted almost a year," he told Italian publication L'Eco di Bergamo, in quotes carried by Sport Witness.
"The details and the scenarios are crazy. Meeting after meeting we learned unimaginable things.
"This leads to the growth of the club and enriches the work of everyone, from the general manager, Umberto Marino, to the entire staff.”
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Diallo played in both legs as Atalanta's under-19s faced Manchester City in the UEFA Youth League in October and November last year, and Percassi says that's where United's interest started.
“A few days after the Youth League game against Manchester City, the other Manchester contacted us," he said.
"They had followed him, the real negotiation started. We went twice to England. The text of the final agreement is a contractual masterpiece."
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