Manchester United’s busy weekend of transfers included the acquisition of Italy international full-back Matteo Darmian.
While not a superstar like Bastian Schweinsteiger or a proven Premier League talent like Morgan Schneiderlin, there is much to be excited about in United’s new defender.
He has played in a World Cup for his country and has been a Serie A regular for Torino for the past three seasons. Former United right-back Gary Neville tweeted his endorsement for the move, saying he liked what he had seen when scouting Italy ahead of England games.
While Van Gaal cited Darmian’s ability to play on the left and others have noted that he has operated in the centre of defence before, Darmian will play as an orthodox right-back. With United still in the hunt for Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, it could be a very different back four at Old Trafford in 2015-16. Yet the fact that United spent some of last season operating with a back three, which Van Gaal’s Netherlands also used in the 2014 World Cup, means that a change of shape is also possible. If so, Darmian has the physical and footballing ability to prosper as a wing-back. Darmian’s arrival should result in Rafael being sold while Valencia is expected to serve as Darmian’s deputy.
United later confirmed the acquisition of Darmian on a four-year contract with the option to extend for a further 12 months for a fee believed to be worth £12.7million.
“It is a dream come true to be joining Manchester United,” Darmian said. “I have loved the time that I have spent at Torino and I would like to thank the club and the fans for everything they have done for me.
“I am sure they can understand when the opportunity to join the biggest club in world came along it was something I had to do.