Matteo Darmian has this afternoon confirmed that he is keeping his options open regarding his imminent Manchester United departure this summer.
Out of favour
Versatile Italian full-back Darmian arrived at Old Trafford from Torino in 2015, impressing during his early months with the club on his way to racking up a respectable 24 Premier League starts over the course of his debut campaign in England.
However, he fell out of favour under Jose Mourinho during the 2016/17 season, with the Portuguese tactician opting for the likes of Antonio Valencia and Daley Blind over the 36-time capped Azzurri international.
As a result, Darmian was heavily linked with a departure from Manchester last summer, with a rake of Serie A sides having reportedly expressed an interest in bringing him back to Italy.
In the end, somewhat surprisingly, Jose Mourinho was the one who blocked a transfer for his 28-year-old stopper, though, with the former Inter Milan and Chelsea boss viewing Darmian as an important member of his squad, despite his lack of game-time.
However, with Darmian having managed just 8 appearances in the English top-flight this past season (5 starts), reports began to intensify late last year that he would push for a January exit from Old Trafford, with all of Juventus, Napoli and Roma having been touted as potential destinations for the AC Milan youth product.
‘Not for sale’
Speaking to Rete Sport at the beginning of the year, Darmian’s agent, Tullio Tinti, was questioned on rumoured interest from Roma in his client, as well as the possibility of a January exit, with Tinti surprisingly revealing that the Italian stopper had still not been made available for transfer:
‘I’ve never received any calls from Roma [for Darmian].’
‘There’s contact with other Serie A sides, but not with the Giallorossi. At the moment, the lad’s not for sale.’
However, Darmian himself added fuel to the fire regarding the possibility of a return to Italy this summer during an interview with Sky Sport Italia in May, when he admitted that he ‘missed’ his home country, before revealing his pleasure at hearing of Juventus’ interest in his services, and heaping praise on the Bianconeri amid rumours of a deal having already been agreed for him to make the move to the Allianz Stadium.
As such, when reliable Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano subsequently revealed that Darmian’s move to Turin was ‘close’, it was widely viewed as an inevitability that the transfer would soon be formally announced:
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 24, 2018
However, surprisingly, the weeks since Romano’s update have seen little to no progress made towards the deal’s completion, amid mounting reports that Juventus and Manchester United could not agree on a fee.
And, as revealed by Darmian himself this afternoon, the Old Lady’s hesitance has seemingly allowed another pair of Serie A clubs to reenter the race for his signature.
Speaking in an interview with La Gazzetta Dello Sport, the Italian stopper explained:
‘United are [a] top [club], but it’s only normal that I want to be involved.’
‘I’ve still got a year on my contract and we haven’t discussed renewing. My agent knows what I want.’
‘Juve, Inter, Napoli or somebody else – it’s not for me to say. If it were to happen, I would go for the best solution. The doors are open.’