Matteo Darmian Nearing Inter Move: Are We Yet to See the Best of Him?

Ex-Manchester United full-back Matteo Darmian is about to link-up with former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte at Inter, finalizing his move from Parma.

The 30-year-old began life on the red and black side of Milan. Over 10 years ago he featured for the Rossoneri and now, after a journey taking him from Palermo, to Torino and Old Trafford and back to Italy with Parma, he’s set to join the Nerazzurri.

It could yet be the defining move of his career at the ripe old footballing age of 30. The details are still being finalized after what’s been a long-speculated move from Parma, but reports claim that Inter will pay a minuscule 2.5M euro fee, and Darmian will sign a four-year deal with the club.

He spent just one season with Parma. It came after four seasons in the Premier League with United, where he featured 92 times in the English top-flight, but only 6 of those coming in his final 2018-19 campaign.

Still in his 20s, a return to his home nation seemed the best option, and so he did, signing with Parma and featuring in all but five league games as they claimed a commendable 11th-place finish last time round.

So are we yet to see the best of Darmian, and will he play the best football of his career with Inter?

Something quite shocking about Darmian is that, despite being an attacking-minded full-back, he didn’t register a single assist for United, managing just the one goal as well. Sure, he was swiftly used as a starting player before becoming more of a back-up, and probably playing in quite a null side, but last season at Parma he managed one goal and one assist.

Perhaps then as his career has developed, he’s becoming more of a solitary full-back; one who prefers to hang back with the central defenders rather than bomb forward. Last season at Parma he averaged 2.5 tackles per game, 0.8 interceptions, and 2 clearances.

They’re some solid defensive statistics, but joining Conte’s Inter, will he be expected to fill that ever-dynamic wing-back role in his side?

Inter have began this season in classic Conte fashion – winning both games, scoring nine goals in the process and conceding five. His 3-5-2 set-up is still being deployed with Ashley Young and Achraf Hakimi starting the last outing against Benevento, and maybe it’s for the latter that Conte wants some experienced cover.

Hakimi has this season joined from Dortmund and having started brightly; scoring his first goal for the club in the 5-2 win at Benevento, but at 21 he’s still a very inexperienced player. Darmian is almost 10 years his senior and with over 300 professional appearances, 36 for the Italian national side, and with an FA Cup, EFL Cup and a Europa League trophy to show for it.

Darmian then has a second chance at the “big time” as it seems. His time at United brought trophies and no doubt great experiences, but it fell off the boil pretty quickly and he had to resurrect a somewhat dwindling career with Parma.

But his class has quickly emerged and he now seems Inter bound. It could be the best move of his career and with it, Inter might just find a bargain full-back as they bid for the Scudetto.