Jose Mourinho's ability to galvanise a squad within weeks of taking charge is formidable. With the help of four new signings, the Special One has turned Manchester United from a bunch of also-rans to genuine Premier League title contenders.
But while few can match Mourinho's managerial skills, his man-management has been found wanting time and time again. It is hard to experience so much success without accumulating a few enemies but, at times, it appears Mourinho actively seeks them out.
He already has at least one at Old Trafford, according to Italian newspaper Tuttosport. They claim his relationship with defender Matteo Darmian as reached 'total breakdown' with the player unlikely to feature between now and the January transfer window.
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Then, they claim, Mourinho is hoping to sell Darmian to the highest bidder. Having originally made his name in Serie A with Torino, a return to his native Italy looks most likely with Juventus rumoured to be interested.
Whether the 26-year-old is heading for the same levels of isolation as Bastian Schweinsteiger is unclear. The German was told to move out of the senior dressing room and is believed to be training with the Under-21 side after refusing to leave in the summer.
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Even if Darmian and Mourinho shared a good relationship, it is unlikely he would get much time on the pitch. Antonio Valencia has managed to nail down the right-back position with many considering him to be one of United's top performers at this early stage of the campaign.
Behind him, Chris Smalling is also an option. The England international looks set to struggle for game time in his favoured central position with Daley Blind and Eric Bailly already forming a strong partnership in his absence. But he has a track record at right-back and could deputise if Valencia cannot.
Mourinho was heavily praised for his effective work in the transfer market last summer. He acted quickly to sign Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba but failed to clear the players he considered deadwood.
Darmian formed part of a group of players who were told to find new clubs but none of them did before the transfer window closed. Schweinsteiger refused to leave while defender Marcos Rojo refused the chance to earn mega money in the Chinese Super League.
Manchester United now have one of the largest squads in the Premier League and by far the largest wage bill to boot. Indeed, the inflated salaries some of these players are on was seen as the main obstacle for getting rid of them.
They even offered to forgo a transfer fee for Schweinsteiger yet received just one offer from Sporting Lisbon, which the midfielder quickly dismissed.
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