Just over a week ago, the Red Devils announced that they had clinched the signature of the Italy international in a deal worth £12.7m [via BBC Sport], and van Gaal has confirmed that the defender will take over from Valencia at right-back – contrary to the stance taken by the Daily Mail, who stated that he would be back-up to the Ecuadorian:
“We have brought Darmian for the second position behind Valencia and now already because of injury, (Paddy) McNair has to play there,” as quoted by the Daily Mail.
While the Ecuador midfielder has handled the pressures at right-back admirably over the past few seasons, arguably no player has truly stepped up to the position at Old Trafford since Gary Neville’s retirement, and it therefore came with little surprise that van Gaal opted to acquire a new right-back this summer.
However, as van Gaal suggests, Valencia doesn’t look set to lose a place in the former Netherland manager’s first-team – rather, the 29-year-old is poised to return to midfield with Darmian playing behind him.
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The Red Devils have also caused immense excitement in the past 24 hours, as the club’s manager has revealed that they are in talks with a ‘surprise’ striker, and the Express have reported on the possibility that the mysterious centre-forward could be Paris Saint-Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
According to the English newspaper, Betfair have slashed the odds on the Sweden legend moving to the Theatre of Dreams in the coming weeks from 20/1 to 5/1.