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Matteo Darmian departs Manchester United to sign for Parma; a model professional, never moaned about his predicament

Manchester United confirmed the departure of Matteo Darmian who has signed a four-year contract with Serie A side Parma. The 29-year-old has spent four years at United, making a total of 92 appearances, scoring one goal. There was a period, at the start of his career that the Italian was lauded as the next Gary Neville, but that soon burned out.

At the time Louis van Gaal signed Darmian, it was a signing that was welcomed at the club as a fullback was needed to take the pressure off Antonio Valencia, who had predominantly played in the position after being converted from a winger. That did not really work well for United, despite the Ecuadorian knuckling down and aiming to perform.

The 29-year-old settled in his role until he lost his early form which had seen him likened to Neville. Darmian cost United £12.7 million and has been sold for £3.4 million along with a sell-on clause being inserted in the deal so that if the player moves again, United will receive a percentage of the final transfer fee. A good move by the Old Trafford club.

Some may moan about the relatively small transfer fee but when you consider the fact that that player was into his last year at the club and could sign a pre-contract with foreign clubs as early as January, remaining at United for the rest of this season and leaving as a free agent, it shows that United got as good a deal as they could.

The Italian will be remembered for his early form and the fact that it was thought the club had found a fullback that could lead the club forward after the likes of Neville and Rafael da Silva has played in the position. He will also be known for his professionalism. Since Van Gaal was sacked at the end of the 2015/16 season, Darmian’s playing time had decreased.

During his first season, the Italian played 39 times, which was also the season he scored his first and only goal for the club. The following season (2016/17), Darmian played 29 times, ten fewer than the previous season. Under Jose Mourinho in the 2016/17 season, in which United won the EFL Cup and the UEFA Europa League, Darmian played 17 times.

During the 2018/19 season, Darmian played seven times, just three times under current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, starting twice. It was clear that the Italian was not going to feature much for the club and had previously lost his place in the Italian national team, last playing for his country in 2017. He never once moaned about not playing, which was good to see, especially in this day an age.

At one stage during his United career, it was suggested that Darmian could emulate both Gary Neville and Patrice Evra, two of the most recent fullbacks that achieved a lot for the club. Darmian, however, suggested that it was impossible for him to emulate these two clubs legends, which suggests that although he was proud for this to me mentioned, he was also a realist, saying:

“They are two full-backs that have created football history, not only at Manchester United but in the world. I’ve seen them both play, they have both been two very important pillars for United. They’ve contributed to the success of the club.

“Patrice played in Italy last season so I had the possibility of more contact with him. I played against him twice in the derbies [against Juventus], and in Italy he is proving to be a champion just like he was at United. Obviously, Gary Neville was captain at United and is a legend at the club, the victories he had, the trophies he won … his story speaks volumes.”

This summer, Solskjaer has moved on more players than he has signed, which will be seen as a gamble, which is exactly what it is. If you look into it though, you will see that he has allowed players who were not going to be given many opportunities to play football elsewhere. Antonio Valencia and Ander Herrera left the club as free agents in the summer.

Marouane Fellaini was sold to a Chinese club in January. Romelu Lukaku was sold to Inter Milan a matter of weeks ago with Alexis Sanchez joining the club on loan for the season and Chris Smalling heading to Roma for the season on loan. Darmian was the last player to leave this summer and I wish him all the best at his new club, Parma.

Looking at Manchester United’s defensive depth for the 2019/20 season

Manchester United did well during the summer transfer window, adding Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who signed from Crystal Palace and Harry Maguire, who arrived from Leicester City. It was a summer that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needed to pay attention to the defence, which allowed more than 50 goals to be conceded in the Premier League along last season.

Solskjaer spent £125 million; £80 million for Maguire and an initial £45 million for Wan-Bissaka giving some much-needed defensive ability ahead of the 2019/20 season in which United would be tasked with chasing the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, to regain a place in the top four of the league.

United finished sixth last season, five points adrift of a place in the top four, which could have been much different if United managed to beat both Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City at the end of the season. However, hindsight is only fantastic when you look back as if you change two factors, other factors may have had to change also.

Goalkeeper depth; Solskjaer does not need to worry in this area.

Solskjaer has three great first-team options in goal this season; David De Gea, Sergio Romero and Lee Grant. That will be the order of importance in the squad. The club also had the likes of Dean Henderson, Joel Pereira and Kieran O’Hara, who have all been loaned out to Sheffield United, Hearts of Midlothian and Burton Albion respectively.

De Gea will be the go-to guy to start the majority of matches, namely in the Premier League. As for the Carabao Cup, the UEFA Europa League and the Emirates FA Cup, it could well be Romero who features, as he did in the cup competitions last season, other than the UEFA Champions League, of course. Grant could be a shoo-in for matches in these competitions too.

It was hoped that Henderson could have been afforded time in the Premier League this season but with De Gea’s contract being extended by the extra year agreed to in 2015, it was unlikely that he would be the first option in the goalkeeping ranks, however, he will get that Premier League experience he craved for, which might do him some good.

Fullback depth; Solskjaer’s options are much improved this season.

Last season, United’s defence left a lot to be desired. First of all, in the fullback position, Jose Mourinho, who started the season as manager, then Solskjaer had Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Matteo Darmian, Luke Shaw, and Diogo Dalot to choose from in both the left-back and right-back positions. Not a lot of pace, or youth for that matter.

Valencia was on the sidelines for much of the season, leaving the other four to contend for places in the squad. Young was often criticised, as way Shaw. Dalot was too inexperienced, but gave his all and Darmian seldom played. This season though, after the departure of Valencia, Wan-Bissaka arrived and has improved the position greatly.

Both Wan-Bissaka and Shaw will face competition from Young and Dalot, who can both play on the left or the right. Darmian may still play a part despite his future up in the air, although his current contract will expire at the end of the season. The fullback role is looking good for the current season with youth coming through the ranks to add more competition.

Central defensive depth; the strongest defence in six years?

Solskjaer has Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Axel Tuanzebe in his ranks for the current season. There was the rumour of Rojo likely to depart before the closure of the European transfer window at the start of September, but it is just rumour right now. With seven players, there is some depth in this area.

Bailly is injured until the Christmas period, meaning Solskjaer has six players contesting two positions in the squad. Lindelof and Maguire secured the central defensive area in the 4-0 victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford last weekend and will be expected to resume their positions against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday evening.

In case of injury to either Lindelof or Maguire, or the need for rotation, Tuanzebe will be a great option for Solskjaer as he did well during pre-season and learned some valuable things on loan with Aston Villa last season. The likes of Jones and Smalling could also be considered. Rojo not so much, based on pre-season appearances.

The depth of this squad is pretty good, despite the moaning for central midfield signings during the summer transfer window. Solskjaer will have had targets and if it was not possible to sign them, panic buying was just going to create more problems in the future with many players on high wages and unable to be moved on; Alexis Sanchez for instance.

United have many options in different areas; a minimum of three players, counting those already in the first team this season, which are players who have already made their debuts for the club in the recent years. In some positions, United has four sometimes five options, based on my opinion on where they would be able to play in the 4-2-3-1 formation.

This is the formation which Solskjaer has used more often than not, and a formation which will get the best out of the attacking players, using their hunger, determination and more importantly, their pace to launch attacking and counter-attacking plays during matches. Solskjaer’s identity seems to be young, courage and success.

Above, you can see the 4-2-3-1 formation, keeping an eye on the defence where there is a minimum of three players for each position, listed in order of importance to the squad. At fullback, both Wan-Bissaka and Shaw seem to be safe, although the emergence of Dalot could change that, more for Shaw, if he does not improve as he should have.

In the centre of defence, Lindelof and Maguire are certain to start more matches together, fitness and injury aside, but in that instance, there is some depth which could help get United through a difficult time. Tuanzebe, at least for me, is trusted more than the likes of Jones and Smalling; Bailly is at the bottom because of injury at the present time.

If the Ivorian improves his game, he could add more competition for either centre-back, which in turn will inspire players to perform to the best of their ability in order to keep their place. Competition is the best thing to bring the best out of players. This defence could achieve a lot; first of all to ensure they concede fewer than 54 goals this season.

Should Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, Juan Mata and Matteo Darmian have their contracts renewed?

With all of the contract news coming out of Manchester United recently I felt it only prudent to examine which player’s contracts will be expiring in June 2019, at the end of the season, and give my thoughts as to whether or not each player has done enough to warrant a renewal or not.

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Ashley Young

First up, and if you’ve read my previous pieces you’ll know this to be true, is my favourite player Ashley Young. With his contract expiring in June 2019, at the end of the current season, there are reports that he will be renewing his contract soon. Per these reports, he was offered a 12-month extension but wanted a two-year deal, like the one Marouane Fellaini was given, much like Juan Mata. However, if reports are to be believed he will be accepting the 12-month extension instead.

A lot of fans believe Young to be a good squad option and you’ll be surprised to hear there are even some who think he should stay in the first team, which is absolute madness.

I, however, believe he should be shipped out as soon as possible so that other players can take his spot, such as Diogo Dalot and Timothy Fosu-Mensah. If the club needs to keep him for another year just to be sure they have a right back in place who can be relied upon then that is fair, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of other players.

If Young stays then he should most definitely be put to the side and used only if, and when, he is desperately needed. Otherwise he is collecting a wage and taking the spot of someone of higher quality because as sure as the sun rises you can be sure that Young is no longer of the quality that a Manchester United player should be, his legs are gone and his crossing is woeful, he has outstayed his welcome at the club by a good two to three years.

Final Verdict: Do not renew

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Antonio Valencia

Sitting on the opposite side of the pitch to the aforementioned Young is Antonio Valencia, another winger converted into fullback and although he is a few years younger he has admitted to needing ice on his knee every day in order to keep playing the way he does.

Much like Young on the right or left, he is also rather ineffectual on both sides and despite a few moments of brilliance offers very little to the club, especially if they are to move forward and challenge for any titles.

Valencia has not played any minutes since the 2-0 victory over Newcastle United on January 2nd, which was his one and only appearance under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, so you have to wonder if, given there is no injury news, he is being phased out and prepared for release.

Back at the beginning of the season, there were reports that Jose Mourinho was unhappy with Valencia due to the defender putting on weight over the summer break and coming back in poor condition. This, combined with him needing constant icing of his knee, is reason enough for him to no longer pull on a United shirt.

It’s a sad fact that often an older and more experienced player will be kept at a club and have a detrimental impact on younger players who are fitter, healthier and just as capable. It is because of all of this that I believe Valencia should be let go, as if given the choice between only one of him and Young staying at the club until others are ready then Young is the one who should stay, although both should still leave.

With any luck, the club will opt against renewing his contract or taking up the 12-month extension they can trigger, as it will be hard for them to sell him elsewhere and get any kind of fee for him.

Final Verdict: Do Not renew

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Juan Mata

The Spanish playmaker with a heart of gold is next and as I previously mentioned he was offered a 12-month extension on his contract but he wishes to have two years instead. Mata has expressed his desire to stay at the club though and if he really does want to stay then accepting the 12-month extension would be a no brainer right?

Unlike the prior two players I do believe Mata can offer something to the club and he is a good option to have when you need something in the last 10-15 minutes as Mata does have an eye for a pass and he possesses the uncanny ability to be right where he needs to be to come up with a goal every now and then.

The issue with Mata is that he doesn’t offer much in the way of speed and is one of the slowest players at the club, although he used to be fast his legs have also gone. This is a big problem in a team that now likes to play offensive, quick attacking football, he was perfect under Mourinho when the team didn’t need much movement, but now the team needs someone like Jesse Lingard more than they need Mata. This is why he should be a last resort and late game player as he will be more effective when the opposing players are tired.

I do believe that the club should retain Mata as a squad option due to what he can offer and a 12-month extension should be all he gets, again to enable to club time to find someone else to understudy for whoever makes the right side their own.

Final Verdict: Renew, but only for 12 months.

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Matteo Darmian

I’m sure many of you read that name and the first thing that came to mind was, ‘Who?’ because to many supporters it is hard to believe Darmian is still at the club, especially as he always seems to have interest from clubs in Italy. However, it always appears that Manchester United are asking for too much for him and it puts teams off.

With a grand total of 361 minutes of football this season you would be hard pressed to name anything he has done for the team at all in the 2018/19 season. The answer, quite rightfully, is not much.

With the ability to operate as a midfielder and on both sides of defence Darmian is a relic of the Van Gaal era, a time all United fans would like to forget if not for the dull football alone. However, for the last few years, Darmian has always seemed to be used as a left back, which is rather surprising considering his lack of ability to defend.

You may very well be able to see where this is going and that is not to the good place. Darmian is currently 29  years of age and not getting any younger and the only thing he appears to have brought to the club is a pair of awful sideburns that seemed to just exist on the sides of his head without purpose. He is very much a squad player as of now and should be giving up his place for, again, some younger blood.

If the club wants to keep him as backup for the backup on the left or right then it would be better suited getting Darmian off the books and having Demetri Mitchell as the backup instead, someone who has a lot more game time this season, albeit on loan with Hearts.

Darmian, like Valencia, has an option for a further year at the end of the season and should the club wish to they will trigger the option, however, I believe they are best off letting him go because nobody is going to pay anything more than £5 million for him.

Final Verdict: Do not renew

Due to the number of players whose contracts are expiring in June, this will be part one of two.

Written by Craig Holland-Greenfield

Matteo Darmian: Right Character, Wrong Player!

The Summer of 2015 was a surreal one, to say the least, with moves that saw Robin van Persie and Nani, Rafael da Silva (a transfer I’ve still not come to terms with), Angel Di Maria and Jonny Evans heading through the exit doors. Amidst those departures, the rumour of David De Gea’s imminent departure kept buzzing around everyone’s ears like an unwelcome mosquito in the middle of the night that just wouldn’t die.

In through the other end, the welcome mat was laid out for players like Morgan Schneiderlin, Memphis Depay, Sergio Romero, Deutsche fußballmeister Bastian Schweinsteiger, Anthony Martial on deadline day and an unknown Italian Gary Neville lookalike fullback from Torino called Matteo Darmian that could play on either side of the defence. Moving on to the first match of the 2015/16 season, United beat Tottenham Hotspur at home 1-0 through a Kyle Walker own goal, a standard Louis van Gaal result with a standard Van Gaal performance.

That match saw Chris Smalling getting Man of the Match, however, the player that caught my eye was our new number 36, Darmian. Solid in defence and wouldn’t stop darting forwards, making runs up and down the pitch up until he was substituted in the 80th minute by Antonio Valencia. Many suggested Darmian as a close contender for Man of the Match and rightly so.

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Darmian followed his solid performance with another decent outing at Villa Park the following Friday when United beat Aston Villa 1-0 through an Adnan Januzaj goal which proved to be his last in a United shirt. Darmian’s start to life at Old Trafford was an impressive one, to say the least, with the fullback being named United’s Player of the Month for August 2015 and he even went on score a spectacular volley against Crystal Palace later on in the season.

United seemed to have found the versatile fullback they so craved and the future for 25-year-old Darmian looked a bright one, what could go wrong? Fast forward to the present day, Darmian cuts a lost and forgotten figure at Carrington (I refuse to use its new name), with a total of 36 appearances in three seasons compared to the 28 in his debut season, Darmian has fallen behind Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and now young prospect Diogo Dalot in the fight to become United’s first choice right-back.

There seemed to be some hope of rekindling his Old Trafford career, after a move back to the Serie A failed to materialise during the summer with Ed Woodward refusing to sell the player for anything less than the reported sum of £15 million. Things looked on the up when according to Darmian’s agent said that Jose Mourinho refused to give up on the player. Sadly, we all know how that story ended. Darmian’s story at United now seems to have reached its epilogue.

At the time of writing this, the Italian fullback is on the verge of securing a loan move to Italian champions Juventus for £4 million with an option to buy at £8 million, which will surely not go down well with his former club Torino (think Luke Shaw moving to Manchester City). The move back home seems to be the perfect move to reignite his career with Darmian looking to get back to playing regular football and back into the Italian national side.

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With Juventus fighting on all fronts (again) this season, Darmian could play an important part as Juventus will surely need more depth in both fullback positions currently occupied by the electrifying Joao Cancelo, Matteo De Sciglio and rumoured United target Alex Sandro. United could have made more money in the summer if Ed Woodward budged slightly on his estimation of the player, but that’s Woodward for you.

Whilst there’s nothing much to write about in terms of performances in Darmian’s last two seasons at the club, one must admire the professionalism shown by the player. With unfortunate injuries, admitting to being homesick, losing his place in the national squad and a failed transfer back home, the player has handled all this in a professional manner. In a day and age where players create unneeded drama by taking snarky swipes at their managers and clubs on social media, whilst their agents to fuel rumours of interest from other clubs to either force an exit or a better pay cheque, Darmian has forgone all of those methods.

Darmian has always been there when called upon even after the club scuppered his move last summer and whenever he was called upon, he gave his utmost on the pitch and tried his best without any fuss or shenanigans. The story of Darmian at United could be summed up in one sentence: The wrong player with the right character. Which is a shame really, because United could do with the professionalism of the Darmian’s of this world, players that make United proud, not just on the pitch but off it too.

Good luck, Matteo, I wish it turned out differently.

Written by John Grech

Matteo Darmian to have Manchester United contract extended before leaving the club this month

Manchester United have reportedly activated the additional one-year option in the contract of Italian defender Matteo Darmian. James Robson of The Standard has confirmed this after it was revealed earlier in that day that Darmian was a transfer target for Juventus this month. Darmian was signed by United in the summer of 2015, under the leadership of Louis van Gaal, for just £12.7 million and now there is a chance that United could receive that figure, or more, in a potential transfer.

Earlier on Sunday, it was reported in Italy, initially by TMW that Juventus has reached an agreement with United for Darmian on loan with a purchase option. Calciomercato has reported the same but added that the loan deal with cost Juventus €3 million with the option to buy a further €8 million. It was suggested in the reports in Italy that United would need to extend the contract of Darmian, adding the further year that was stipulated in his contract as otherwise, he would be a free agent in June.

Obviously, the reported fees in the Italian media may not be correct. United could demand a fee for the loan spell, adding a purchase clause in the summer, when Darmian would most likely leave the club permanently unless this is going to be a permanent departure this month. At 29 and lacking first team opportunities, this move would make sense for both Darmian and Juventus. The player is still a full international for his country, which would make sense.

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It is a shame that Darmian did not fit what United needed. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be the third manager he has played under at United and despite the fact his initial start under Van Gaal was a good one, he soon lost form, confidence and any sense of playing consistently under the veteran Dutch manager. Under Jose Mourinho, who was sacked in December, Darmian had little game time, often playing as the left-back in place of Luke Shaw and rarely playing in his favoured position.

United are in a position whereby a new manager will be coming in during the summer, whether this is Solskjaer permanently or another candidate is yet to be known. Because of this, it is for the best reason that United aim to get rid of those who they can get rid of in January or even at the start of the summer transfer window, which will give finds and a much clearer squad for the new manager to get to grips with, bringing in players they want to rebuild the club with, also getting rid of other players who have no future.

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Darmian has remained a professional player at the Old Trafford club, despite not playing regularly. This season he has made six appearances, five for 90 minutes, coming on at the death in the 2-1 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday. There has been no moaning or discontent from the Italian international, even in the summer when reports were rife that he would be departing from Manchester.

The positive part of this is that United are now seeking to get value from departing players. For years we have seen some decent players leave the club for a pittance of a transfer fee; Rafael da Silva to Lyon for instance. The move to extend the player’s contract, meaning that he could spend another year in Manchester means that Juventus or any other interested parties would need to pay a considerable fee to get the player, which is how it should be in the first place.

If United are convinced to leat Darmian leave the club on loan, it will have to be on their terms. It is not right that Juventus could get six months or so out of the player then send him back to Old Trafford as soon as the summer comes. United will need to negotiate in their favour, ensuring that any loan deal will result in a permanent deal in the summer. Juventus have been interested in the player for some time now and they should have decided whether they want him permanently, if not I am sure there will be other options.

The media suggest Matteo Darmian is set to leave Manchester United in the lurch but its not quite like that

It has been known all summer long that Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian is likely to be sold this summer. Jose Mourinho has spoken about it and Darmian himself has spoken about leaving the Theatre of Dreams. Last season he was used sparingly and at the age of 28, he will want to play regular football, something he will not get at United. It was suggested that Inter Milan had put in a loan request for the player, which is something United may be reluctant to do, seeing nothing in return for the player in effect running his contract down.

Damian travelled on the clubs pre-season tour of the United States of America and has been more involved in the squad since Antonio Valencia injured his calf in the first seven minutes of the 0-0 draw against San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday. The Italian started in the right-back role in the 9-8 victory on penalties against AC Milan, being put into the left-back role late in the game after Luke Shaw was replaced by Tim Fosu-Mensah. The media claim that Darmian wants to leave as soon as possible, even if it means leaving Mourinho in the lurch ahead of the new season.

Everyone should know by now that is Manchester United do something, there is always going to be a negative angle, whether by so-called supporters or by the media. Yet if another club does the same thing, or even something similar, there is a different outcome, especially in the media. We all know that Darmian’s days at United are numbered. That was prevalent last season and even more so earlier in the summer. It was expected that he would have left the club by now but he is still there.

With cover for the right-back role pretty thin right now with Valencia on the sidelines, new summer signing Diogo Dalot kicking a ball for the first time in months, meaning he will probably not be fit to face Leicester City at Old Trafford on the 10 August, the media seem to think that Darmian could be the man to stay at the club until injuries have subsided. Whilst the lack of cover is slim right now, United will have Fosu-Mensah, who played in the right-back position at Crystal Palace in the Premier League for most of last season, it hardly leaves the club in dire straits.

Darmian has spoken about leaving United, stating that he wants to play regularly, which is understandable, also confirming that he has spoken to the manager and the club about his future. Valencia will obviously be the first-choice right-back with Dalot being eased into the role, which is a signing made clearly with the future in mind. There is nothing to suggest that Darmian has stated that he would leave United in the lurch, which is the angle The Mirror seems to have adopted here. The Italian defender said:

“Yes, that’s what I want, but we will see what happens because we don’t know. I want to play more regularly. Last season I didn’t play much – that’s my objective and my ambition. That’s why I spoke with the manager and also with the club about my future. We will see what happens. Honestly, I’m waiting. If I stay, I stay and I do what I did up until now.

“If I go, it’s because the offer that another team makes will be good. To play for probably the best club in the world is a good thing and for me, it’s an honour to play for United. But we have to take decisions in our life and this is my decision. Italy? It could be an option, yes, probably.”

The writer of the article has suggested that Victor Lindelof could fill the void but that he does not return to training in Manchester until Monday, meaning he will have fewer than two weeks to reach match fitness, which seems unlikely. Ashley Young was also mentioned but he will be on holiday for a further week, coming back at the start of the week the Premier League commences, which is even more unlikely that he would be fit to face Leicester. If Darmian has left by this time, I don’t think the problems that his departure would leave would be anything as massive as the media seem to think, in this instance anyway.

Of course, the transfer window for incoming players will close on the 9 August but the transfer window in most other countries around Europe will remain open until the 31 August. United will not be able to bring in any new players from the time that the window closes on the 9 August but departing players will be able to leave until the closure of the FIFA sanctioned transfer window. The Premier League clubs agreed last season that the transfer window, for them, will close before the first match of the season.

I am sure that many so-called supporters of the club will read the report in the newspaper and vent some anger, blame Mourinho for something and probably moan some more. However, those with logic will probably read things with the view of thinking for themselves based on quotes or other information which could be easily found out. Darmian will not be leaving United in the lurch. There is suitable cover in that position, whether it be temporary or for a much longer period.

Inter Milan submit loan offer for Matteo Darmian

Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian is likely for a summer exit from the Theatre of Dreams this summer. The Italian, who arrived at the Old Trafford club in the summer of 2015 has fallen out of contention over the past few years, playing his fewest matches for the club last season. Juventus were said to be keen on the player but with speculation suggesting Alex Sandro will remain in Turin, they may not need to sign Darmian.

Inter Milan have been credited with an interest in the 28-year-old this summer but it would be a loan move, rather than a permanent one with an option to buy the player in a year’s time, according to Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio. It may well be the best offer for United to offload the player from their books, receiving something in return, rather than seeing the player leave on a free next summer.

United will obviously be seeking a permanent move for the player this summer or at least insert an obligation to buy, rather than an option, which could see the Old Trafford club lose money on the Italian. Darmian started well for United on signing for the club, putting in some good defensive performances which saw him compared to Gary Neville. That bubble burst soon after.

Since Jose Mourinho took over as the manager of the club, Darmian has played a bit-part role at the club, seldom playing in his favoured right-back position but filling the left-back role on occasion, also taking over from Antonio Valencia when he has been rested throughout the past season. During the clubs pre-season tour of the Unites States of America, Darmian has played in every game, covering for the injured Valencia.

United may need to keep hold of Darmian for the start of the season with a whole host of players missing heading into the news season but with Valencia returning to Manchester for treatment on a calf injury, it looks increasingly likely that Darmian could start the season as United’s right-back with Diogo Dalot recovering from injury and not yet playing a part for his new club.

Things could change rapidly though. United will not be in a rush to sell or even loan the player this summer as there will be two transfer deadline days this summer. United will need to ensure purchases are completed before the window closes on the 9 August, a day before their first Premier League match against Leicester City but they can still sell players, to foreign clubs until the 31 August.

Matteo Darmian increasingly likely to sign for Juventus with talks ‘progressing well’

Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian could find himself returning to Italy this summer after his agent, Tullio Tinti confirmed that he had met Juventus to discuss personal terms for the 28-year-old. It has been suggested that the Italian international would be allowed to leave the Old Trafford club this summer after not finding himself as part of Jose Mourinho’s plans for the new season. Darmian saw Antonio Valencia become the first choice right-back last season and has seen 19-year-old Diogo Dalot sign for the club this summer.

Darmian arrived in the summer of 2015 under the management of Louis van Gaal and at first, seemed like a great signing, being compared to former United captain Gary Neville. However, that praise soon stopped as Darmian began to lose his magic, seeing himself play as a left-back and not being able to cement a place in the squad, under both Van Gaal and Mourinho. Last season, Darmian did not play as much football as he would have envisaged.

Darmian travelled on United pre-season tour of the United States of America last weekend and could be set to make a final appearance for his club on that tour, with United taking on Mexican side Club America in Phoenix in the early hours of Friday morning (in the United Kingdom). United also face San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday evening (UK time) before partaking in the International Champions Cup where they will face AC Milan, Liverpool, and Real Madrid. Juventus will play in the USA this summer, so a move could take place with both teams out there.

Darmian’s agent, Tullio Tinti has reportedly met Juventus sporting director, Fabio Paratici in Milan, holding two meetings in a week with Tinti suggesting that talks were ‘progressing very well’ over the possibility of a summer transfer for the player. United are said to be asking for £17 million for Darmian, with Juventus seeking to negotiate for the player, seemingly not willing to pay that much for him. United have already sold Sam Johnstone to West Bromwich Albion for £6.5 million and Daley Blind to Ajax for £14.1 million this summer.

It seems increasingly likely that Darmian will not be at the Old Trafford club when the Premier League season starts. With Valencia playing on the right and Ashley Young or Luke Shaw on the left, plus the fact that Dalot has been signed to take the reins from the Ecuadorian, the chance that Darmian plays much football, or even any in the new season would seem unlikely. It is a shame it did not work out for him at United, taking into consideration his start at the Old Trafford club but nothing always works forever.

The management change at the club from Van Gaal to Mourinho would not have helped him much with Mourinho initially giving players a chance in his first season, then picking the weaker players from his squad in the second season, seemingly getting rid of some of the deadwood in his third summer transfer window. Supporters would like to see more outgoings this summer, along with a number of new additions and the lack of anything happening has brought frustration which is in effect unnecessary, from a supporters point of view.

Matteo Darmian seems likely to return to Italy this summer with Juventus, Inter Milan and Napoli linked

Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian has revealed that he could sign for Inter Milan, Juventus or Napoli this summer. The 28-year-old right-back has been used sparingly by Jose Mourinho for the past season and with 19-year-old Diogo Dalot signing for the Old Trafford club this summer, the future for Darmian looks bleak. The Italian international has one year left on his contract and the club have not started negotiations on a renewal, hence the player seeking football elsewhere.

Last week, Sky Italy reported that Darmian’s agent met with Juventus Sporting Director Fabio Paratici and discussions regarding that are still ongoing. Darmian has spoken to Gazzetta dello Sport about his situation, which is where he has confirmed that three Serie A clubs are interested in signing him this summer. The player obviously wants to play football as a starter and with Antonio Valencia being a mainstay in the team and the fact that Ashley Young emerged as United’s first-choice left-back last season, a place on the bench seems the only option for Darmian.

“United are a top club, but wanting to be a starter is normal. I have one more year on my contract and we haven’t talked about a renewal. My agent knows what I want. Returning to Italy? It could be to Juve, Inter, Napoli or someone else, it’s not for me to say.

“In any case, I’d only move to the club who offered me the best solution. My doors are open. I was close [to leaving last year], but United didn’t want me to go. It was a sign of confidence, plus I wanted to play under Mourinho for another year.”

Darmian made 17 appearances for United in all competitions last season and in the majority of them, he seemed rusty and really needed a run of matches that he was not going to get. Dalot’s arrival will show that the future will lie elsewhere for the 28-year-old with United needing to secure some positions for now and for the future. United will be expected to challenge Manchester City to wrestle the Premier League title away from them, so Mourinho will have a big job on his hands.

Darmian started well when he signed for United in the summer of 2015 which saw early comparisons to former United captain Gary Neville, however, that soon disappeared which saw the player criticised, benched often and never actually reach the heights he hit for the club early in his career. His lack of game time since Mourinho became the manager suggests Darmian is not trusted and the manager needs to trust the players on the pitch. It is a shame it did not work out and perhaps a move back to his native Italy will help his rediscover his form.

Juventus in talks with Matteo Darmian ahead of Manchester United exit this summer

Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian is reportedly in talks with Juventus ahead of a summer departure from the Theatre of Dreams. The Italian came to United under former manager Louis van Gaal and despite being praised after his great start in the right-back position, which drew comparisons to Gary Neville, the former Torino defender has failed to live up to his expectations and sat on the sidelines for the majority of the past season with Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young playing in the full-back positions at the club.

Sky Sports in Italy, with reports carried by Sky Sports in the UK, have claimed that Darmian’s agent has met with Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici with the aim to sign the player, although negotiations are currently ongoing. Despite Jose Mourinho giving Darmian chances during his spell as the United manager, it is clear that the 28-year-old has no future at the Theatre of Dreams, especially with the arrival of Diogo Dalot, who will be nurtured into the successor of Valencia in the future.

Darmian had a positive first season at United, making 28 appearances in the Premier League, also helping United to lift the Emirates FA Cup, just days before Van Gaal was sacked as the manager of the club. Under Mourinho, Darmian has been utilised on both full-back positions, unable to stake his claim to be a starter for the club. Last season, Darmian made a total of 17 appearances in all competitions, which shows the future is going to be bleak for him if he remains at the Old Trafford club.

The Italian will soon be entering the final year of his contract, which will expire in the summer of 2019, although United inserted a clause into the player’s contract which would enable them to extend his contract for a further year, which could be activated to ensure the player leaves for a competitive transfer fee either this summer, or next, if a move fails to materialise before the transfer window closes in August. Darmian has already spoken to Sky Sports in Italy, stating that he was happy Juventus were interested in him.

This suggests that the player knows that the door is well and truly open for him this summer, as long as United valuation of the player is met, which is currently reported to be in the region of €20 million – something that Juventus may not pay, especially with a move nearing closure for Portuguese full-back Joao Cancelo, who was once linked to United, despite no true interest in the player, and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Darmian may not be the only defender leaving the Old Trafford club this summer as Daley Blind could be heading to pastures new with Sky Sports already reporting that United were willing to listen to offers for the defensive duo. There could well be more players nearing an exit this summer with Mourinho tasked with clearing the dead wood in a bid to assemble a squad capable of taking on Manchester City in the quest to lift the Premier League title next season.

copyright: JW