Jose Mourinho is in no rush to let Matteo Darmian leave Manchester United, despite the news Juventus are gearing up to make a concerted assault for the Italian full-back’s signature.
The Bianconeri have identified Darmian as their number-one target to replace Dani Alves once the Brazilian’s departure for Manchester City has been confirmed, but Goal understands that Mourinho is ready to fight to keep the 27-year-old at Old Trafford.
Darmian has struggled to nail down a regular first-team spot during his two-year spell with United, but he won back a place as a left-back towards the end of the 2016-17 campaign and was one of the side’s stand-out players in the 2-0 Europa League final win over Ajax in May.
And that spell has helped to underline Darmian’s value to the United squad in Mourinho’s mind, with the Portuguese now keen to hold on to the Italy international defender. While the manager is likely to permit some defensive departures in the summer transfer window following the arrival from Benfica of Victor Lindelof, Darmian is currently not on Mourinho’s list of potential sales pieces.
The development will come as a blow to Juventus, who have been tracking Darmian’s progress over a number of months and have identified the natural wing-back as a perfect fit for the three-man back line, which has become their hallmark over the last six years under Antonio Conte and now Massimiliano Allegri, who used a 4-2-3-1 towards the end of last term.
Darmian was snapped up by United for around £14 million in 2015 under Louis van Gaal’s leadership, but having lost his place under the Dutchman he then found playing time difficult to come by when Mourinho first took the reins.
However, Mourinho has been impressed by Darmian’s attitude to the challenge of earning a place. As the player explained to reporters in April, he had always geared himself up for the constant battle for game time that would involve playing for Manchester United.
“Of course, when a player is in a fantastic club like Manchester United they know there is a lot of competition because there are a lot of good players,” he explained. “I say always that I work hard from the first day of the season to be ready when the manager gives me a possibility [to play]. The most important thing is when I play, to help the team and to win. That’s it.”