Italian side Inter Milan are leading the race to sign out of favour Manchester United right-back Matteo Darmian this winter, according to Tuttosport.
Darmian has struggled massively in the last year or so to cement himself a place in the United 11, and is now even further down the pecking order with Jose Mourinho at the helm.
A move back to Italy seems very likely for the Italian international, with Milan Vice-president Javier Zanetti looking to use his strong relationship with United boss Jose Mourinho to try and land a deal for the full-back this winter.
The United man moved to England in 2015 after showing consistent impressive displays in Italy for former club Torino, he cost the Red Devils £13.2 million and has gone on to make 28 appearances for the club in the league scoring just one goal but has failed to impress the new boss leaving himself warming the bench.
Along with Inter, three other Italian clubs are said to be interested in Darmian, including the likes of Juventus, Napoli and Roma, but Inter are said to be in the driving seat and are monitoring the situation very closely. Darmian has struggled for confidence after a run of poor performances in the United team dating back to when Louis Van Gaal was in charge, his poor form continued during the Euro 2016 campaign for Italy after missing the decisive penalty in the Quarter-final defeat to Germany.
The 26-year-old has barely featured this season under new boss Mourinho, with Antonio Valencia slotting in comfortably at the back, a move away could be best for the club and player and a move back to his native country could help him reignite his career.
Inter Milan have had an average start to their Serie A campaign and will no doubt look for reinforcements in the winter with Darmian certainly being an option. Cristian Ansaldi, Davide Santon and Danilo D’Ambrosio have all played at right-back for Inter this season with the latter being a more regular for the position.
We take a look at how Darmian compares with current Inter Milan defender D’Ambrosio.
As a defender, your most important job is of course to keep the attack at bay and win your tackles against your opponent. Considering Darmian is so out of favour, his stats on this specific trait show he has done more than enough in that area. Last season, Darmian managed to win 3.23 tackles per 90 minutes which is quite a way ahead of D’Ambrosio who managed just 2.05.
Darmian once again comes out on top with the 6ft man winning 60.61% of his aerial duels, putting him ahead of D’Ambrosio who managed just 47.37%.
Darmian managed 28 games last season which is eight more than D’Ambrosio, but the former once again came out on top on total duels, managing to win 52.12% all in all which puts him just ahead of the Inter Milan man who completed 44.44%. Interceptions and blocks are other key traits to being a solid defender. Darmian once again finds himself in front of D’Ambrosio on 1.96 interceptions with the latter managing 1.49. As for blocks, the Inter Milan man comes out on top for the first time with 0.50 as Darmian is second with 0.09.
The game has come a long way from defenders kicking the ball into row Z; nowadays defenders are moulded to becoming ball players as well as good defenders. Darmian has totalled an impressive 27.13 forward passes per 90 minutes last season with D’Ambrosio just behind on 26.20.
Taking everything into consideration, on paper Darmian looks like he would be a very good coup for an Inter side that must improve and would offer healthy competition to their current full backs. It is very unlikely Manchester United would manage to retain the full fee they paid for the ex-Torino man and would probably take a loss if they were to sell him, but as things stands it makes perfect sense for the club and player to part ways, with a move in January seeming more likely to happen than not.
This is a story Fresh Football will be keeping a close eye on in the coming months so be sure to check back for anymore updates on the Italians future at the theatre of dreams.