Torino president Urbano Cairo has confirmed to Radio Kiss Kiss that Matteo Darmian is a wanted man, but would like to keep his star in man in a perfect world.
The Italian has gone from AC Milan reject to hot property over the past few years, hitting his stride at Torino under the guidance of Giampiero Ventura.
Darmian was one of the first signings made by the Granata when Ventura took over at the helm in the summer of 2011, perhaps proving the most crucial down the years.
Torino immediately won promotion to Serie A with the versatile full-back in the ranks on loan, and 30 top flight appearances later was signed outright in June 2013.
His rise only continued. Darmian was superb last season as Torino secured a Europa League berth, named in the 2013-14 Serie A Team of the Year at the Gran Gala del Calcio in December.
Becoming a regular in the Italy set-up during his time in Turin, the 25-year-old’s impressive form has carried over into the current campaign.
In large part due to his contributions, financially modest Toro sit seventh in Serie A and find themselves in final 16 of the Europa League.
It was Darmian himself who secured Torino’s progress in Europa last Thursday, scoring a superb volley against Athletic Bilbao as the Granata became the first Italian side to conquer the San Mames.
In the aftermath of the unlikely victory, Darmian didn’t rest. He was back at it again on Sunday against Napoli in Serie A, tallying a trio of interceptions and tackles each, while adding two dribbles.
At this point, interest in the Italian is as high as it has ever been. Darmain has maintained top form for nearly two years now, and seemingly only continues to improve.
Chelsea are named alongside Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli and Roma as a club hot on his tail, with Torino president Cairo commenting on the situation.
Cairo told Radio Kiss Kiss: “The transfer market is closed and now we have four months to focus only on our football.
“I’d like to keep Darmian, but there are many clubs who want him and are watching his performances closely. He is tied to us by a contract until June 2017, but we’ll see what happens.”
Darmian’s ability to play in either full-back position and on the right or left of a five-man midfield makes him an attractive option to all comers.
Jose Mourinho is a manager who values such versatility, as well as the type of energetic play and everlasting engine Darmian displays on a weekly basis.
The Portuguese has two top performers at full-back in the form of Branislav Ivanovic and Cesar Azpilicueta, with Felipe Luis in reserve to cover at left-back.
Like Darmian, Azpilicueta can play on both sides, but Chelsea would do well to add another full-back of Darmian’s quality to bolster the manpower available to Mourinho.
Cairo’s words suggest that it won’t be easy to sign Darmian, however, as he is well aware of the Italian’s value and attention in could only drive up his price.
The battle to sign him come summer should be fierce, and as such, Chelsea may have to decide just how far they’re willing to go to bring him to Stamford Bridge at the expense of rivals, should their interest indeed be genuine.