Despite constant speculation, Manchester United ended this summer transfer window without the purchase of a central defender. The club had been linked with deals for Tottenham Hotspur’s Toby Alderweireld, Barcelona’s Yerry Mina and Leicester City’s Harry Maguire, but none of these options came close to moving to Old Trafford as the transfer window closed last Thursday, leaving Jose Mourinho a frustrated figure. The Portuguese had repeatedly stated over the summer break that another central defender was a priority, but it appears as if his calls for an additional centre back fell on deaf ears.
On the bright side, Diogo Dalot was brought in from FC Porto to provide cover for Antonio Valencia on the right flank. The Portuguese youngster has limited experience at the top level so far, however, which is why Matteo Darmian’s presence in the squad since the Ecuadorian sustained an injury during’s last month’s US tour certainly helped Mourinho.
However, according to a report in ESPN, Darmian and Marcos Rojo have both been told by their manager that they are free to leave the club this month, should they wish. Mourinho’s wish is said to be to keep both players, but he accepts that opportunities for them may be limited when he has a fully fit squad. Darmian’s chances to seal a deal back to his homeland appear to be limited, given that the Italian window closes on August 17th, whilst Fenerbahce are said to be interested in securing Rojo’s services.
Despite Darmian starting Friday’s 2-1 win over Leicester City, the former Torino defender struggled frequently, something that has been a running theme during his time at United. Rojo, meanwhile, has had persistent troubles maintaining his fitness due to a plethora of injuries, so whilst Mourinho’s stance of wishing to retain both might make some sense, in reality, United will not be losing much should both leave Old Trafford this month.