The advantage Sheffield United will hope to use if they follow up interest in Manchester United's Amad Diallo
Sheffield United will hope that the good working relationship they strengthened with Manchester United during Dean Henderson’s loan spell at Bramall Lane gives them the edge if they decide to consolidate their long-standing interest in Amad Diallo this summer.
United have been admirers of the young Red Devils winger for a while, The Star understands, after his £37m move from Atalanta last January.
He hit the ground running at Old Trafford, marking his full Premier League debut with an assist for Mason Greenwood and scoring in their Europa League tie against AC Milan.
But he is keen to play games – missing pre-season to appear for the Ivory Coast at the Olympic Games in Tokyo – and has been pushed further down the pecking order by the arrival of Jadon Sancho.
That has put a number of clubs on red alert about his possible loan availability, including the Blades. Slavisa Jokanović has signalled his intention to move away from the 3-5-2 system favoured by his predecessor, Chris Wilder, but has been hampered a little by the fact that the squad he inherited contains few genuine options to play on the wings.
Jokanović has already signalled that the majority of his business this summer is expected to be conducted in the loan market, with Ronaldo Vieira and Ben Davies close to arriving on temporary deals from Sampdoria and Liverpool respectively.
United are also known to be admirers of James Garner, the Red Devils youngster who spent time last season on loan at Watford and Nottingham Forest, and will hope that the relationship they enjoy with United following Henderson’s two loan spells at Bramall Lane may tip the scales in their favour.
Henderson arrived at United as a goalkeeper that had never played higher than League One level, and returned to his parent club as an established Premier League goalkeeper and on the verge of a senior England debut.
The goalkeeper was vocal about how well he was treated at Bramall Lane and with United regularly checking up on their loan players, through their defacto loan manager Les Parry, the Old Trafford hierarchy were fed encouraging reports of how the Blades look after the talent they borrow from clubs higher up the football pyramid.
And if Diallo wants some insight into how a season at United can make him a better player, he doesn’t have far to look.
"I just think you've got to go out and embrace it," the England international Henderson said last year when asked about his attitude towards going out on loan. "Get out of your comfort zone and go and play men's football in a men's environment. It's a big test, at first, but, if you're good enough, you'll be able to do it. If you're strong enough.
“I'm a strong believer that every player will find their level. If you go out and do well, you will get back up to where you want to be. If you're not quite so good, you'll find your level pretty quickly.”