TONY MOWBRAY has admitted Sunderland will struggle to re-sign Amad Diallo next season – even if Manchester United opt to send the youngster out on another season-long loan.

Amad has been a revelation since joining the Black Cats on loan from Old Trafford last summer, with this week’s nomination for the Championship Young Player of the Year award a fitting recognition for his efforts during his time at the Stadium of Light.

In an ideal world, Sunderland would love to be signing the 20-year-old on a permanent basis this summer, but that has already been ruled out, partly because Manchester United want to reintegrate him into their own first-team group over the summer and partly because the Wearsiders could not afford to buy a player who left his former club, Atalanta, in a deal that could eventually be worth €40m in January 2021.

If Amad does not make Manchester United’s senior squad next season, there is a chance he could be sent on another loan, but even if that happens, Mowbray has accepted there will be plenty of top-flight interest in the forward.

“Amad is a wonderful footballer,” said the Black Cats boss. “I know how much he enjoys his football and enjoys the environment, being around his team-mates. But you have to put it into context – he’s a Manchester United player and he cost them a lot of money.

“Whatever their plans are for him, we’ll have to see. They will have him back at the end of this season, and he’ll probably go on their pre-season tour and they’ll see where they think he is.

“It’s their decision. Unless he’s told that he’s going out on loan again, then we just have to abide by that really. And even if he did go out on loan again, I would suggest there might be some Premier League sides that would have seen the talent and recognised that he could play for them.”


Nevertheless, Mowbray has been delighted with Amad’s impact this season, and expects the Ivory Coast international to continue to play a prominent role in the remaining five games.

His natural ability was obvious from the moment he walked through the door at Sunderland’s Academy of Light training ground, but Mowbray has worked out to elicit an end product from the forward’s sparkling approach play.

It took Amad nine appearances in a Sunderland shirt to register his first goal, but a brace in the last home game against Hull City means he has now scored 11 times in the Championship this season, a tally that makes him the club’s leading scorer.

“First and foremost, his natural talent is there for everybody to see,” said Mowbray. “I shouldn’t need to eulogise about what he can do with the ball at his feet. It’s almost stuck to his left foot.

“He’s built up a wonderful relationship with Patrick Roberts, with their clever interaction and one-twos. Their interlinking with each other has been really good.

“It’s great that he’s been able to score some goals because, early on, he wouldn’t shoot. Early on, you could see how talented he was, but he’d get in the box and he was always looking to pass. He needed to break out of that mindset, really, and I think now he’s in a frame of mind where he’s enjoying scoring goals and celebrating helping the team win.

“He’s a nice kid and he’s very talented. Sometimes, you have to give him a bit of a gee up to make sure he knows how important the next game is because you have to put into context that he’s not our player, he’s got a home at Manchester United.

“Sometimes, when you’re as talented as he is, I’ve got to make sure that he doesn’t just turn up and go through the motions and think it’s quite comfortable and he can do what he wants. We’ve all enjoyed working with Amad. I’ll be really interested to see the direction that his career takes.”