Five players who are now crucial after almost being cut
6 days ago, 16:58
The Italy defender has been leaving Manchester United in each of the last three windows, if the Gossip columns are to be believed. Speculation was rife in the summer that Darmian was heading back to Serie A but still he remains at Old Trafford.
It has always been somewhat puzzling why United were apparently so keen to push the 29-year-old out of the door. Darmian isn’t a defender to build a back four around and though it’s not often he rates above 7/10, he also rarely strays below 6/10 and his versatility makes him a useful squad player. The former Torino defender can do a job in all the positions across a back four and as a wing-back on either flank. Unlike many other United players, when he takes the field, you always know what you are going to get.
Darmian also gives Jose Mourinho very little grief considering he doesn’t get the playing time he would like. Playing at left wing-back against Arsenal was a third appearance of the season for a player Mourinho dubs his “emergency man”. “He is always ready for everything,” said the manager in September, which is in stark contrast to a lot of his other erratic defenders.
Half a season after joining West Ham from Hull for £10.2million in January 2017, Snodgrass was told he could go to Aston Villa on loan after only two assists in 15 appearances. Slaven Bilic expected more of a signing seen as the replacement for Dimitri Payet, but the Hammers hardly prospered while Snodgrass was rebuilding his confidence at Villa Park.
The Irons are now reaping the benefits of Bilic’s decision to exile the Scotland winger. Snodgrass was linked with a return to Villa and Steve Bruce was extremely keen to make it happen, but Snodgrass opted to give it another go at the London Stadium. Manuel Pellegrini is bloody glad he did.
Despite nine new arrivals in the summer, Snodgrass has emerged as one of the Hammers’ most impressive performers of late. Even Mourinho has been impressed.
While Pellegrini has been considering a deal for Samir Nasri, who hasn’t played football for a year, in an attempt to solve a lack of creativity from the left, Snodgrass has weighed in with three assists in the last two games, having started the last six games for which he has been available.
“That’s football, sometimes things change in a second in the wrong direction, and sometimes in the right direction. It was such an important thing and so nice.” That was Jurgen Klopp’s rather more considered response compared to his immediate reaction to Divock Origi’s last-gasp derby winner against Everton.
Origi certainly needed a change of direction because the only way he was heading was towards the exit. Having spent last season at Wolfsburg, it seemed he would be off in the summer with Turkish clubs interested, as they generally are in Liverpool’s cast-offs, while Wolves had an offer of around £20million accepted, but the striker ...
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