Former AC Milan Primavera coach Federico Giunti likens Inter Milan transfer target Tiago Djalo to the legendary Fabio Cannavaro.
The Nerazzurri are working to sign the 23-year-old once his contract with Lille expires at the end of the season.
However, they are facing stern competition from Juventus who are trying to hijack the operation by striking a deal with the French club in January.
But according to Giunti, the young defender is worth the hype.
The 52-year-old was at the helm of Milan’s U19 squad during Djalo’s brief spell at the club in 2019.
The coach recalls how the Portuguese showcased his potential on Italian soil despite his tender age at the time.
“He arrived in January and I remember that he gave us a great hand. It was immediately clear that he was a player with enormous potential,” said Giunti in his interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport via FcInter1908.
“He was not only technical but also gifted with great intuition and timing. He was great at covering spaces and possessed a brilliant physique. And yet, he was also agile and fast.
“Even though he was right-footed, he preferred to play on the centre-left.”
The Italian tactician highlighted Djalo’s prowess in the air and his positioning as some of his best traits.
“He was really good in aerial duels. He also knew how to find the right position, so he was difficult to overcome. And like a good Portuguese, he was also very good at starting the play.
“He always had the talent and made it blossom at Lille. He is a complete defender, also capable of fitting in any formation.
“Perhaps he lacked some consistency at the time, but these were small defects of youth which he has certainly corrected today.”
The interviewer then asked Giunti to compare Djalo to a more renowned defender, and he picked Italy legend Fabio Cannavaro.
“He has characteristics that are difficult to find. Few defenders have this mix of qualities, as he’s physically strong but also quick and technical.
“He is someone who counts on his ability to anticipate the play and rarely makes mistakes. Stylistically and technically, he reminds me a lot of Cannavaro. But obviously, we are talking about very different players from a physical standpoint.”
Former AC Milan Primavera Coach Likens Inter Milan Transfer Target Tiago Djalo To Fabio Cannavaro
Finally, Giunti insisted that the Portuguese would be able to fit anywhere in Inzaghi’s three-man defense.
“I think he would be a great fit at Inter. In fact, he would do well at any top club.
“In the current Inter side, he could easily play either on the right or on the left of the three-man backline. But I’m sure he wouldn’t look out of sorts even in the center where Acerbi and De Vrij usually play.
“However, he has to be aware that Bastoni and Pavard are undisputed starters and he would be the first backup. But Tiago would be a top-level substitute. He is strong and can play anywhere.
“I wish him all the best and hope he gets back to the pitch soon because he had to deal with a bad injury.
“I followed him closely before he got hurt and I saw how he improved. So I hope he returns stronger than ever.”