Each passing game, Torino’s Matteo Darmian seems to get more and more impressive – attracting a broad range of suitors for his services.
Last week former Toro striker Marco Ferrante declared him Italy’s best full-back by some distance, with reports claiming the 24-year-old’s value continues to skyrocket.
Since Manchester United were linked with a January move for the Granata defender, his price-tag has been quoted anywhere from £10 million to £15 million.
Even for United, such would be a significant sum to hand over mid-season for a player that a year ago likely wouldn’t even have cracked the £3 million barrier.
And now, the competition appears to be heating up for Darmian. Napoli have a dearth of full-backs in the squad and according to Sport Mediaset have their eyes on the Torino star.
Juan Zuniga continues to struggle with injury issues, with a possible relapse of a previous serious knee problem landing him on the treatment table again last week.
Meanwhile, the Partenopei will lose Algeria international Faouzi Ghoulam for the Africa Cup of Nations in the New Year, leaving the ranks rather thin.
Of course, both Zuniga and Ghoulam are left-backs. Darmian is a natural right-back, but such is his versatility that he can play on both sides – as well as at centre-back.
On Sunday he played at left wing-back in Giampiero Ventura’s 3-5-2 for Torino in a testament to this, registering five tackles, one dribble and 84% passing.
Darmian’s ability to play all across the back-line or even in midfield increases his value further, and adds appeal for clubs in need like Napoli.
The problem for the southern Italians, however, is Torino’s financial demands. After missing out on Champions League money this term, the San Paolo coffers aren’t exactly full.
If United want their man enough, it’s likely they would get him at Torino’s expense. The Red Devils certainly have £10 million to stump up, the question is whether they would pay that much for Darmian.
Nevertheless, increased interest in the 24-year-old will only serve to convince Toro that they’ll be able to charge a higher premium for one of their stars.
Napoli may not be a direct threat to United financially in this regard, but yet another big club on Darmian’s trail gives Toro increased license to name their price for him.