Why Newcastle United should look at Matchoi Djalo as a long-term prospect
Matchoi Djalo, who currently plies his trade with Pacos de Ferreira in Portugal, has also attracted interest from Premier League rivals Everton and Southampton while reigning Serie A champions Juventus are also keeping close tabs on his progress (Football Insider h/t Sunderland Echo).
The 16-year-old, who is the son of former professional footballer Bobo Djalo, has burst on to the scene at Pacos de Ferreira this term. He became the youngest ever player in the Primeira Liga when he made his senior professional debut as a substitute in a 5-0 defeat against Benfica back in August.
Djalo has since gone on to make a further couple of first-team appearances for Pacos de Ferreira, one in the Primeira Liga and another in the Taca da Liga.
Despite playing only 45 minutes of senior football across all competitions, the teenager has done enough to catch the eye of Newcastle United.
However, with Serie A giants Juventus also showing an interest, Newcastle are at risk of being blown out of the water in the race to sign the highly-rated teenage sensation.
Matchoi Djalo rose through the youth ranks of Pacos de Ferreira and was promoted to the U17 side from the U15s back in December last year.
The right-footed winger has also illustrated the versatility to play in central midfield. To put things into perspective, Matchoi Djalo is an exceptional talent and Newcastle United have every reason to look at him as one for the future.
The 16-year-old is still very much in the rudiments of his formative years as a professional footballer but the Magpies could well have a gem on their hands in the years to come if he goes on to fulfil his promise in the north-east of England.
The emergence of the Longstaff brothers in the first-team fold at St. James’ Park has been a rare bright spark in what has otherwise been a rather bumpy ride for Newcastle over the past few years.
Avoiding relegation season after season in the Premier League has become a norm rather than an anomaly for the Magpies in recent times.
The rise of the Longstaff brothers should prompt Steve Bruce to promote more young players from the academy to the senior ranks in a bid to put an end to such mediocrity moving forward.
In Victor Fernandez, Jack Young, Oisin McEntee and Luke Charman, Newcastle have some burgeoning young talent coming through their U23 system and someone like Matchoi Djalo would be yet another fantastic addition.
Unlike Portugal, the process of transitioning from the academy to the senior ranks is a lot more lengthy when it comes to the highly-competitive atmosphere of English football.
To that end, Djalo would probably need to prove his worth at U18 and U23 levels before staking a claim for a first-team role at Tyneside.
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Having said that, Matchoi Djalo seems to have the raw materials required to make a big impression in the years to come. Newcastle United completing a move in January could pay off handsomely for their long-term future.