Friday, 27 July 2012

Abou Diop - Star in the Making ?

No matter how passionate a football fan you are, sometimes watching pre-season fixtures can be an arduous task. Whilst you may kid yourself that a good pre-season campaign will lead to a successful season, this is rarely the case, and despite what the coaches and players say, the results are often irrelevant.

This being said, pre-season still gives fans an opportunity to look at their teams new acquisitions for the first time, and obviously I was very interested in seeing how players like Mario Santana, Gianluca Sansone and Alessandro Gazzi would fare in a Torino shirt.

However, it was another player who has grabbed my attention during Toro's warm up games, a player who was already at the club (albeit in the youth team), Senegalese striker Abou Diop. After a promising season with the Primavera squad last season, where he scored nine goals in fifteen matches, it was widely expected that Diop would go out on loan this campaign in order to further his development.

However, after scoring four goals so far in pre-season, including a second half hat trick against Sappada (he also made me look quite knowledgeable after scoring his first goal literally a minute after I spoke about him on Twitter) both Urbano Cairo and Giampiero Ventura have suggested that Diop may stay with Toro for the upcoming season.

Whilst he is still only 18, and it would be quite risky to rely too much on Diop, the fact he has also scored a goal against fellow Serie A side Lazio in pre-season would suggest that he could be a valuable asset at this level. Despite his tender age, Diop is a tall and physical striker with decent technical ability (as you will see on the video below) and is not afraid to try things with the ball at his feet. This unpredictability could trouble defences in the closing stages of Serie A matches, and therefore it is my view that he should stay with Toro, at least until January. Whilst regular football would certainly help his development, training every day with Serie A players (especially strikers like Rolando Bianchi) and making cameo appearances when possible in the top tier will be an invaluable experience for the young striker.

You can see a highlight video of Abou Diop below, and considering the fact that Torino have not had many young players come through their system in recent years (apart from Angelo Ogbonna), it is refreshing to once again be excited about a Primavera prospect.

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