For weeks, the only news regarding Matteo Darmian’s future at Manchester United seemed to unanimously suggest that the former Torino defender would be heading back to his homeland and would make reigning Serie A champions Juventus his new home. The sticking point appears to have become the price, with the Turin club unwilling to match United’s valuation of around €20. Still, there remained an expectation that the Old Lady would seal the deal and end Darmian’s three year stay at Old Trafford.
Napoli might be about to throw a spanner into those works, however. Football Italia via Calciomercato are reporting that the Serie A runners up have entered the negotiations for Darmian with United and Juve unable to agree on a fee. The report suggests that the Bianconeri are still favourites to complete the deal, but Napoli’s emergence as a potential destination for the player certainly makes this deal far less clean-cut than it looked last week.
It’s something of a strange position for Darmian to be in, in all honesty. Not that the right back is a poor player; on the contrary, he began his United career under Louis van Gaal very strongly, but he struggled to hold down a permanent place in the starting XI under the Dutchman, and the Italian has never been favoured by Jose Mourinho in the two years that the Portuguese has been in charge of the club. The player turned in an excellent performance in United’s memorable 2-0 victory over Ajax in the Europa League final last year, but all too frequently, he has struggled to perform when offered a chance to deputise for Antonio Valencia, with the Ecuadorian making the right back slot his own in the last two season. As such, the fact that Italy’s top two clubs are competing for his signature, particularly given how low his stock is with United fans, is quite curious.