Manchester United have not yet got their contract talks with Diogo Dalot underway, so he remains a target for Barcelona, according to reports.
Dalot will be out of contract at the end of the season unless Manchester United can tie him down to a new deal. They have two ways of doing so: either activating their option to extend his stay by another 12 months, or negotiating a longer renewal.
The former solution will be the easiest, but it won’t reduce the risk of them losing Dalot in the not-too-distant future. Man Utd would merely be preventing suitors like Barcelona from taking him on a free transfer in 2023.
Indeed, Barcelona have been drawing up detailed plans to sign Dalot on cheap terms in the new year. As reported by Diario Sport, he has become their priority target for January.
Xavi would like to sign a new right-back, but will have to look for relatively inexpensive options. Dalot’s current contract situation would allow him to fit into that category.
And according to Sport, there is not yet any sign of Man Utd entering talks for his renewal, despite that seemingly being their intention.
Dalot has been a regular starter since Erik ten Hag took charge at Old Trafford. Indeed, this season he has started 13 out of 14 Premier League matches, only missing one because of suspension.
Ten Hag will want to continue with the 23-year-old, which makes the prospect of United activating their 12-month option to extend his contract seem likely.
In the long run, though, it would be better to negotiate a long-term stay for the Portugal international. For now, though, Man Utd are yet to sit down with him officially about the topic.
With that in mind, optimism seems to be growing around Barcelona that they might be able to take him away.
There have previously been reminders that Dalot’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has a good relationship with Barcelona. Therefore, he might be able to orchestrate a move to Camp Nou for his client.
Man Utd might not have much time to sort Dalot future
For now, Dalot will be focusing on his upcoming commitments at the World Cup with Portugal. It is unlikely there could be any progress on his Man Utd future while he is away in Qatar.
Depending on how far Portugal go in the tournament, there might be a short window of opportunity for Man Utd to speak with him after he returns. As things stand, though, the 12-month extension seems the most likely situation.
It would serve to protect Dalot’s market value if Barcelona try to sign him in January. Without activating it, United could in theory lose Dalot on a pre-contract agreement for the summer, thus keeping him for six more months but then receiving no transfer fee upon his departure.
Given his importance to the team at present, United should be doing anything they can to avoid that outcome.