Man United have confirmed the signing of former Torino full-back Matteo Darmian, and Louis Van Gaal should be applauded for the move.
The Dutch tactician needed to strengthen his defensive line this summer, and while additional moves are still expected, the acquisition of Darmian is a smart one.
The 25-year-old had a slow start to his career. After spending a number of years with Milan, he eventually moved on to Palermo in a co-ownership deal.
However, he found his home in Turin with Torino, and his impressive form for the Granata ultimately led to a call up with Italy and he has gone on to establish himself as a starter for the Azzurri.
Darmian offers versatility, defensive solidity, pace and an attacking threat on either flank that will make him the all-round answer to the problems at Old Trafford.
While Luke Shaw will likely make the left-back position his own provided that he stays fit, the new arrival will operate on the right where he is equally as comfortable.
Admittedly, his ability to cut in from the left and use his right foot is a strength that will have to be neglected in this case, but Darmian has the footballing brain to ensure he will play a crucial role at both ends of the pitch.
The play of a team’s full-backs has always been a pivotal part of their success, and United have certainly struggled in recent years in solving that problem.
Having to deal with injuries hasn’t helped, but the likes of Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young have found themselves in defensive positions over the last few seasons and, while they performed admirably, their lack of familiarity and natural ability to play those roles has been an issue for the Premier League giants.
With a possible £14.4m transfer fee, taking into account future add-ons, according to the Guardian, United have done excellent business to capture an international full back that is only just realising his potential and has many years ahead of him to improve.
While he will be judged on his defensive capabilities first and foremost, United fans will embrace his ability to break forward and provide assists or even find the back of the net himself on the odd occasion.
His maturity, positional awareness and overall IQ make him an excellent signing for Van Gaal, and it will only be a matter of time before the Old Trafford faithful praise his performances.