Poor old Matteo Darmian is having a miserable time of it at Manchester United under Jose Mourinho, but help could be at hand from a familiar face recently acquainted with the Premier League.
This time last year Darmian was busy endearing himself to the Old Trafford faithful, having arrived from Torino and looking like a fine acquisition at right-back by Louis van Gaal’s regime.
Now, however, the 26-year-old Italy international has found himself put out to pasture by Mourinho, having not played a minute under LVG’s replacement.
Like the famed fictional pooch Lassie, though, Darmian’s national coach up until a few months ago has apparently sensed his old friend’s plight and may be about to devise a rescue plan.
Those with similarly strong detective skills will have realised quite swiftly that the man in question is new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte.
The Blues boss was a keen admirer of Darmian’s work at Torino, bestowing a first Italy cap on the then 24-year-old, before going on to grant him another 25 more in his stint as the Azzurri’s head coach, keeping faith right through Euro 2016.
With relations between Mourinho and his player believed to be frostier than the outside of an aeroplane’s window at 57,000 ft, it makes sense that the full-back reach for the Old Trafford ejector button sooner rather than later.
The Daily Express suggest that Conte is prepared to act in January, as he looks to strengthen the right-back talent pool at Stamford Bridge.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.