Manchester United are close to signing Italian right-back Matteo Darmian from Serie A outfit Torino.
This is according to the Manchester Evening News, who understand a surprise deal could be completed ‘imminently’.
Sky Sports, meanwhile, understand that Manchester United have agreed a £12.7 million fee with Torino for the Italy international who could become the Red Devils’ first-choice right-back from the start of next season.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250 word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay4
Article continues below
Louis van Gaal was forced to look for alternative options at right-back after Dani Alves opted to sign a new contract with Barcelona and Nathaniel Clyne swapped Southampton for Liverpool.
But the veteran Dutch coach has pulled off a potential coup by landing Darmian, 25, who has been capped 13 times by his country.
Article continues below
Matteo Darmian bio
Darmian featured for Italy against England during last summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil - and managed to catch the eye with an impressive display - while he also appeared against Roy Hodgson’s side in a friendly in Turin last March.
The full-back began his career with AC Milan before joining Palermo - following a loan spell with Padova - in the summer of 2010.
Darmian failed to make an impact at Palermo and was subsequently offloaded to Torino, where he settled instantly and began to flourish.
He was named in the 2013-14 Serie A Team of the Year following an excellent individual campaign, while last season he continued from where he left off the previous term by scoring five goals in 47 appearances.
Darmian's arrival spells end for Rafael
Darmian is expected to be added to Manchester United’s squad in time for the club’s pre-season tour later this month. The Red Devils fly out to the United States on Monday and also hope to have sealed a deal for Southampton’s French midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin by then.
The arrival of Darmian will effectively mark the end of Rafael’s Manchester Unite career. The Brazilian right-back has been told he is free to leave Old Trafford after failing to convince Van Gaal last season.
It will also mean that Antonio Valencia, Manchester United’s former No. 7, will be demoted to the role of substitute for the club’s biggest fixtures.
However, with United on course to quality for next season’s Champions League campaign - provided they advance through next month’s final qualifying round - there will be plenty of matches for both right-backs to play in.
United fans have taken to social media to express their excitement at the news - and here are a selection of some of the best tweets.
Manchester United fans: Will Matteo Darmian be an upgrade on Rafael? Would Nathaniel Clyne have been a better option? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!