The summer of change is upon. It is one that is seeing one of Juve’s Magnificent 5, right back Stephan Lichtsteiner, head out on a free transfer when his contract expires next month. And, if reports in Italy are to be believed, it could very well involve name that some of us yearned for a number of months ago.
According to a handful of Italian media outlets including La Gazzetta dello Sport, Juventus are closing in on a deal for Manchester United fullback Matteo Darmian, one that could cost the seven-time Serie A champions around €13 million this summer.
This comes after Juventus director general Beppe Marotta spoke in very glowing terms regarding the club’s interest and any potential move for the 28-year-old Darmian (as well as Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin). Said Beppe:
“Darmian could fit in terms of those opportunities, players and profiles we’re looking for. He’s also an Italian player and we always think that the hardcore of a squad like Juventus should be represented by players who can also wear the Azzurri shirt. Italians have more ability and speed in terms of understanding our environment, so I can’t hide that Darmian is a player who interests us.”
Darmian, who signed with Manchester United three summers ago after Torino cashed in on the then-25-year-old, is coming off a season where he appeared in all of 17 games in all competitions. That’s not just in the English Premier League, folks. That’s also the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, EFL Cup and FA Cup. Five different competitions and not even half a season’s worth of appearances. Not great!
It’s clear to anybody out there who has followed Darmian’s career since he left Torino that his stock is nowhere near where it was three years ago. Instead of being a high-priced fullback on the market, Darmian is likely hoping that a return home is the thing that re-ignites his career and makes him a regular candidate for selection on the international level.
Seeing as Mattia De Sciglio is somebody who can play both fullback spots, Juventus signing Darmian this summer would only continue that kind of trend. And with Kwadwo Asamoah also leaving this summer and one of the two Atalanta boys set to return to Turin after their loan spells in Bergamo, Leonardo Spinazzola, out for pretty much the rest of the calendar year after major knee surgery, I wouldn’t put it past Beppe to go after another fullback who has some versatility to their game.
Now if only we could ensure it’s the Torino version of Darmian rather than the United one...