In our weekly Scout feature, Daniel Roberts takes a detailed look at a new emerging talent from world football. Today we head to Italy and profile Bologna’s rising star Amadou Diawara.
Spotted in his native Guinea playing for his local church by a scout named Robert Visan, Diawara was offered the chance to sign for Italian league side San Marino Calcio in 2014. In his first campaign with the club, the midfielder made 15 appearances and significantly impressed those watching on.
Prior to signing for Calcio, Diawara spent a week at Bologna’s director of sport Pantaleo Corvino’s Corvino Soccer Academy, and after watching his development with a keen interest, Corvino and Bologna stepped up and signed the midfielder for a mere £420,000.
At just eighteen years of age, the youngster certainly wasn’t expected to make a contribution straight away, however, after coming off the bench in his side’s first three fixtures of the campaign, he was given the chance in the starting 11 against Frosinone, playing 54 minutes in their 1-0 victory.
From then on, Diawara went from strength to strength and firmly cemented himself as a permanent fixture in the side, missing just four games in the entire season. Playing as a defensive midfielder, he earned copious amounts of plaudits throughout the campaign, even being compared to Yaya Toure, and acted as a confident and assured figure in front of the Bolonga back four.
Displaying similar attributes to his self proclaimed idol, Diawara is equally adept at breaking up attacks as he is distributing the ball up the pitch to the more creative players further up. And while his attacking side of the game is somewhat none existent, taking just 12 shots all season, he finished the campaign with an impressive 84% pass completion rate, making a key chance every other game.
His finest skill throughout the season was his defending, though, and he complimented his precise passing with an average of four defensive actions per game, making 94 interceptions, 39 clearances and seven blocks throughout the season.
One factor of his game that will have to improve is his tackle to foul ratio, as he successfully won just 52 of his 149 tackles throughout the season, earning himself 11 yellow cards and two reds. However, at just 18-years-of-age, Diawara is far from the finished article and will greatly improve after he experiences more top-flight football.
What the experts say
Former Bologna player Lamberto Zauli: “He is 18, but when you see him on the pitch he looks like he is playing in the garden of his own house. If he keeps improving, he is destined to become a top player.”
San Marino president Luca Mancini: “He’s a player with great physical strength, very good control and strong defensively. He has a great personality, he passes well whether on the right or left foot. When I watch Diawara, he reminds me of Yaya Toure and I think the Premier League will be his championship.”
Bologna coach Roberto Donadoni: “He is a top prospect, he is still very young, but when you are that good, age is not important. He plays with enthusiasm. He may lack some experience, but that’s part of the game and will come with time.”
Where does the future lie?
Billed as one of the hottest prospects in European football today, it’s natural that the continent’s biggest clubs are starting to circle around.
Last November, Diawara’s agent Robert Visan confirmed that both Chelsea and Manchester City were interested in the midfielder but underlined that his client was indebted to Bologna after they gave him his big chance.
However, as we head into the summer transfer window, speculation over his future has returned and Bologna themselves seem to open to the idea of the 18-year-old moving on, providing that the financial returns are right for the club.
When quizzed on his player’s future, Bologna coach Roberto Donadoni said: “If someone better arrived I wouldn’t see a problem,
“I haven’t put limits on the players, because I know that any decision the club takes will be agreed with those who have the technical expertise and task of making those choices.”
It’s highly possible that Diawara will move on this summer, and regardless of where his new home will be, the future for him is extremely bright.
Danny Roberts – @