Sunday, March 26, 2023

Why Manchester United Should Look To Keep Hold Of This Player

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Sourav Bhakat
An ardent sports lover who loves to sleep, eat and watch Manchester City play. In that order.

With all the excitement and anticipation surrounding the imminent signing of Paul Pogba as he makes his grand return to the Old Trafford and the first piece of silverware in the form of a Community Shield win against Leicester, Manchester United will be forgiven for overlooking an important omission from the squad which faced the Foxes yesterday. Matteo Darmian was left out yesterday and with no reported injury issues of note, this particular piece of development has got tongues wagging.

Matteo Darmian was a player who was expected to play a pivotal role under Jose Mourinho this season. The Italian is solid defensively and with Jose’s known stress on being compact at the back, it was given that Darmian would be an automatic choice especially with the lack of competition for the particular spot. The right-back was one of the bright spots last season along with Chris Smalling in defence and featured in 36 matches for the Red Devils. He also scored a goal and created 12 chances for his teammates.

In an unexpected turn of events, Darmian has been linked with a host of clubs such as Roma and Napoli with Juventus also in the mix.

While it was understood the prolonged usage of Valencia at right-back was to do with an injury to Darmian, the continued absence of the player has been baffling for many. Mourinho had admitted in his initial days at Manchester United that he is a stickler for specialist players. Hence, Valencia was expected to fight for a place further up the field or used mainly as a back-up but he has turned the tables around during the pre-season. The Ecuadorian has put in impressive performances throughout and has been an ever-reliable outlet on the right flank.

Wayne Rooney Testimonial: Manchester United v Everton

Although Valencia has impressed in the short term, Mourinho should be wary of undermining Darmian’s importance to the team. Against teams who play a high-line defence, Valencia can be used to good effect as he can trouble the opposition with his pace. But at the same time, with the improvement in the quality of the players in the league and the margins expected to be extremely fine, it must be noted that Valencia isn’t actually a right-back. There is every possibility that the decision to continue to play the former winger might back-fire in the long run as a single player out of position will cause the whole team to forego their shape and this is something Mourinho works hard to avoid.

There have been reports of Man United being interested in Brazilian right-back Fabinho, and the outcome of the deal is understood to be directly linked with Darmian’s future at the club. But United don’t really need to look as far as South America as they have more than able options in Darmian and Valencia already at the club.

Now that we have had our little bit of digression in the form of a negligible £12.7m player, let us shift our focus back to £120m Pogba. #POGBACK

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