Manchester United defender Diogo Dalot has revealed that he turned down the chance to join AC Milan on a permanent basis in order to battle for a first-team spot at Old Trafford.
The 23-year-old spent the 2020-21 campaign on loan at Milan, representing the club on 33 occasions in all competitions, including 21 outings in Serie A.
The Italian giants are believed to have been keen to sign Dalot on a permanent basis in the summer of 2021, but he ultimately remained in Manchester.
The Portugal international became Man United’s first-choice right-back in the second half of last season, with interim head coach Ralf Rangnick picking him ahead of Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Dalot has kept hold of his starting role this term, contributing one assist in seven appearances, with the defender proving to be a key player for new head coach Erik ten Hag.
The Portuguese has revealed that he could have joined Milan on a permanent basis but decided to remain at Man United to battle for a first-team spot.
“Milan are a great club and I loved the season with the Rossoneri. But it (transfer) wasn’t just up to me. In the end I decided to stay at United and it was the right decision,” Dalot told reporters.
“If I’m a better defender I owe it to Milan. Italian football is different from the Premier League and I had to adapt in just one year and playing in Serie A has helped me a lot.
“Over the past two years here in Manchester, the minutes have increased and, consequently, so has self-esteem.”
Dalot’s current deal at Old Trafford is due to expire next summer, although the club do have the option to extend the agreement for another year until June 2023.
Man United are believed to have considered signing a new right-back over the summer, with Wan-Bissaka deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.
There have been claims that Colombia international Santiago Arias could arrive at the club on a free transfer in order to boost Ten Hag’s options in that area of the field.
Dalot played 45 minutes against Real Sociedad in the Europa League on Thursday evening, and he is again expected to be in the XI against Sheriff Tiraspol in the competition next week.
“Following discussions with the relevant governing bodies and in line with guidance issued by the UK Government, we can confirm our UEFA Europa League fixture against FC Sheriff will take place as scheduled on Thursday evening in Moldova,” read a statement from Man United.
“Match arrangements will remain the same for fans who are traveling to support the team in Chisinau.”
This weekend’s Premier League fixtures have been postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.