We ‘signed’ Luis Diaz to Manchester United in January and he helped them win a trophy

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Luis Diaz is being linked with a move to Manchester United as Ralf Rangnick looks to strengthen his squad before the transfer window closes.

The Colombian attacker is reportedly a target for several major clubs this month, with United said to be just one of the 25-year-old’s many admirers.

United were rumored to be one of the teams to send scouts to watch Diaz play last weekend amid mounting speculation linking the Porto winger with a move to Old Trafford.

Following the departure of Anthony Martial on loan to Sevilla and with the future of Jesse Lingard still up in the air, United could do with signing Diaz to bolster their attacking quality.

So if Diaz were to move to United in January, what kind of impact could he have on Ralf Rangnick’s side?

Could the Colombian winger help United win a trophy?

We simulated the rest of the season with Diaz in the United squad and this is what happened.

‘We signed’ Luis Diaz for United in January 2022

To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2022 editor to arrange for Diaz to join United at the start of the January 2022 transfer window, using FM22 to run the simulation.

This is what Díaz’s in-game profile looks like in FM22.

In-game profile of Luis Díaz on FM22.
In-game profile of Luis Díaz on FM22.

The Colombian winger’s key attributes are his dribbling (19), flair (19), first touch (18), technique (18), acceleration (17), agility (17) and speed (16).

These attributes make Diaz one of the most exciting wingers in Europe and a nightmare to defend against, as the 25-year-old has proven his finishing ability for Porto by scoring 16 goals in 28 appearances in all competitions in which it’s seasonal.

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Let’s take a look at how Diaz performed during the second half of the 2021/22 season after joining United in January 2022.

Luis Diaz made a total of 27 appearances for United after signing in January, scoring four goals and recording four assists. The Colombian winger was ranked sixth in terms of goal contribution in the United squad, averaging a 7.05 match rating in all competitions.

Luis Díaz statistics for Man United in the 2021/22 season.
Luis Díaz statistics for Man United in the 2021/22 season.

The striker also posted the second-highest completion rate (86 per cent) of any United attacker, behind only Bruno Fernandes (89 per cent) and matching Jadon Sancho’s completion rate. The Porto winger’s stats averaged over a full season would see him score goals and assists similar to Sancho’s nine goals and 10 assists, offering attacking support for the likes of Marcus Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo.

At the end of the 2021/22 season, Football Manager 2022 produced Man United’s best overall XI, based on performance, stats and other metrics.

This is what United’s best XI looked like at the end of the 2021/22 season as predicted by Football Manager 2022:

Man United's best eleven at the end of the 2021/22 season.
Man United’s best eleven at the end of the 2021/22 season.

Full XI of the best United (4-2-2-2): De Gea; Dalot, Maguire, Varane, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; Fernandez, Sancho; Rashford, Ronaldo.

Diaz failed to feature in United’s best XI after signing for them in the January transfer window, with Rashford partnering Ronaldo in attack, supported by Sancho and Fernandes, but he was a semi-regular substitute.

So how did United perform in league and cup competition after signing Diaz in the January transfer window?

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United results from the 2021/22 simulation:

Man United finished fourth in the Premier League.
Man United finished fourth in the Premier League.

United finished fourth in the Premier League and qualified for the Champions League after finishing by a single point margin above Arsenal.

They remained quite a distance from the top three clubs, highlighting the gap that needs to be closed if United are to challenge for the Premier League title again.

So how did they perform in the cup competitions?

United were eliminated from the Champions League at the quarter-final stage by fierce rivals Man City after losing 1-0 on aggregate in two games.

Man United's performance in cup competitions.
Man United’s performance in cup competitions.

However, United ended the season with trophies after beating Chelsea 3–1 in the FA Cup Final at Wembley, lifting the historic trophy for the thirteenth time.

Overall, our Football Manager 2022 simulation suggests that if United were to sign Diaz in January, the Colombian attacker could force his way into the starting 11 with Rangnick at times, but could only contribute eight goals, which could hint that there are better players out there. options for them in the current transfer market.

United won silver with Diaz in the side, but the gap with the top three teams in the league suggests further additions are needed if the Reds are to contend for the Premier League and Champions League again.

Would you like to see Luis Diaz sign for Manchester United? Let us know in the comments below.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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