The Rossoblu youngster has attracted interest from across the continent after becoming an ever-present for the Serie A side in his first professional season, says Blair Newman...
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- Date of birth: July 17, 1997
- Place of birth: Conakry, Guinea
- Height: 6ft
- Position: Central midfield
- Current club: Bologna (14 apps, 0 goals)
- Former club(s): San Marino Calcio
- International: N/a
Earlier this year Amadou Diawara was 17 years old and playing for San Marino Calcio, who were relegated from the third tier of Italian football. Now he's 18 and starring for Bologna in Serie A.
It has been a fast rise to prominence for the Guinean midfielder, who as recently as 2014 was playing for a parish team in his native country and at the start of this year hadn't played a single professional game.
But after impressing in San Marino, he was brought to the attention of Pantaleo Corvino over the summer. Corvino is Bologna’s director of football and has a strong reputation within calcio due to his vast collection of astute finds in the transfer market. During his time at Lecce, Corvino signed Javier Chevanton, Valeri Bojinov and Mirko Vucinic. At Fiorentina, he brought in the likes of Juan Manuel Vargas, Felipe Melo and Stevan Jovetic.
Diawara joined Bologna in July for £420,000 and, after a few months of Serie A football, it has become clear that he may well soon be added to Corvino’s impressive list of player acquisitions. Operating from defensive midfield, he has shown quality and maturity beyond his years in the continuing aim of helping newly promoted Bologna stave off the threat of relegation.
Why you need to know him
There is a strong interest of Chelsea. Also the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham and Juventus follow him
Diawara hasn't been fazed by the huge leap in quality of opposition he has had to adapt to in recent months, something that should stand him in good stead as – if recent speculation is to be believed – he may be making another step up soon. His agent Robert Visan has previously disclosed that multi-million pound bids have already been lodged by several clubs, including German side Schalke. More recently he declared Chelsea were in the hunt, along with others in the Premier League.
"There is a strong interest of Chelsea," Visan told Tutto Mercato Web. "I work with Pini Zahavi, who everyone knows, but that does not mean that will he will go to Chelsea. Also the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham and Juventus follow him [but] with them I never speak of offers, only football. But now, I repeat, he is indebted to Bologna."
Reports suggest that Italian giants Juventus and Milan are willing to offer players and cash to sign Diawara, but the Guinean’s ultimate destination may be the Premier League if Chelsea flutter their eyelashes.
Diawara's intelligent reading of situations and positioning allow him to make important interceptions to break up opposition attacks
A diligent worker, Diawara’s game is built around his ball recovery skills. His intelligent reading of situations and good positioning mean he can make important interceptions to break up opposition attacks.
In his 10 starts for Bologna he has also showcased the requisite acceleration not only to cover ground quickly and nullify attacking moves, but to burst forward in transitions to attack. Diawara is a proficient passer, though his job for Roberto Donadoni’s side is simply to win the ball back and distribute it in an efficient yet simplistic manner, so we are yet to see exactly how strong his passing range is.
In a woeful game for passing across the board against Roma, Diawara registered the third most of all players and was defensively excellent (4 interceptions, 3/3 tackles won)
In reality, should he sign for the Blues then a loan elsewhere would be inevitable
While linked with Chelsea, Diawara has stated that his idol is Manchester City’s midfield maestro Yaya Toure. The powerful Ivorian is an iconic presence as far as Diawara is concerned, as he told reporters: “I am inspired by him and I’d love to follow (in) his tracks.”
Such words might suggest the purported move to the Premier League is a genuine ambition for Bologna’s growing deep-lying midfielder, but there are things he must work on to bolster the chances of such a move ever happening.
Mentally, Diawara appears composed enough to handle the pressures of competing in a crowded midfield regardless of the league but, given his youth and inexperience, he is understandably still quite raw in some technical and physical aspects.
He perhaps lacks the guile and strength to thrive amid the cut and thrust of English football’s top tier at this moment while, as mentioned, his limited passing role with Bologna would have to be adapted to the differing rigours of playing for a side such as Chelsea, who expect to open up defences in the pursuit of winning every game they play. In reality, should he sign for the Blues then a loan elsewhere would be inevitable.
Donadoni’s predecessor in the Bologna hot seat, Delio Rossi, mixed enthusiasm with realism when discussing Diawara’s prospects. Following the player’s Serie A debut – a 2-1 defeat to Lazio – Rossi stated: “He’s got a long way to go and plays in a delicate role, but he has character and has improved over pre-season training. I’d be careful before labelling him a phenomenon.”
Did you know?
Along with Godfred Donsah, Adam Masina and Alex Ferrari, Diawara is just one of multiple young talents currently plying their trade with Bologna. 19-year-old Donsah was signed in the summer from Cagliari and has since played alongside Diawara in midfield, while both Masina and Ferrari have been called into the Italy Under-21 squad of late. With these four players in the starting line-up, Bologna regularly field on average one of the youngest teams in Serie A.
What happens next?
Diawara would be wise to think carefully before jumping at the first opportunity to play in English football’s top tier
The financial riches and global presence of the Premier League may turn Diawara’s head, just as it has done for many outstanding young players in the past, but he would be wise to think carefully before jumping at the first opportunity to play in English football’s top tier. Chelsea's constant stockpiling and loaning of players is hardly a selling point for promising youngsters. Likewise, Manchester City, also potential suitors, have failed to nurture young talent since they broke into the Premier League’s top four.
Under Donadoni’s presence, Bologna appear headed in an upward trajectory. The Rossoblu have won two and drawn one of the games they have played since he took charge, suggesting they can do more than just survive in their maiden campaign back in the top flight.
For Diawara, the best option may therefore be to remain with his current club, with whom he still has plenty of room for development, at least until the end of this campaign. He has been with Bologna for less than half a season and, given his little professional experience before joining them, should benefit from regular first-team football.
Diawara can be a major influence as Bologna look to continue their ascent up the Serie A table and, come the end of this season, a move abroad or to a more prestigious Italian side could make more sense for all parties involved.