Italian full-back Matteo Darmian — heavily rumored to be on his way to a new club to his home country this summer — is now set to stay at Manchester United. Darmian confirmed weeks ago that he wanted out of United in order to secure first team football, but a rumored move back to Serie A failed to materialize. José Mourinho had agreed to allow the player to leave had an acceptable offer been received, but despite links to Juventus and Napoli, Darmian remains on the books.
At his press conference on Friday, the manager appeared pleased that Darmian would be staying.
“I don’t think he’ll go. He cannot have any bad feelings towards us because we opened the door for him, in case his desire was to go, but it looks like it’s not going to end in a transfer and, for me, it is good news.
“For me, it’s good news that Matteo is staying. He’s always an option for us, he’s always a reliable player. We know that his performance level is one where we know that he always does a job for the team - right-back, left-back, starting, on the bench – he always does it.
“He’s a fantastic professional. He’s a guy that is loved in the group by his human nature too, so for me, in the end, it’s good news if Matteo is not leaving.”
Hooray? Darmian is nowhere near the required quality of a first choice player for Manchester United, but is almost guaranteed to be in the starting XI on Sunday in Antonio Valencia’s continued absence. And with Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Axel Tuanzebe out on loan, Diogo Dalot currently injured, and Ashley Young still short of match fitness, Darmian is a necessary presence.
Many of us would have preferred to see the promise of Fosu-Mensah or Dalot as this season’s understudy to team captain Valencia, but Mourinho is notoriously distrustful of young defenders. Darmian is painfully mediocre, but at least he’s consistent.