Manchester United are reportedly in advanced talks with Jose Gaya's representatives regarding a switch from Valencia this summer.
According to Rai Sport (h/t Metro), Matteo Darmian is expected to move on at the end of the season and manager Jose Mourinho has intensified United's interest in Gaya, having identified him as their first-choice replacement.
The left-back is one of Valencia's most important players, but the club may be forced to part with him in the summer, per Yahoo Sport's Andrew Gaffney:
Darmian has made just 13 appearances this season, while Ashley Young has continued to operate as Mourinho's first-choice at left-back ahead of Luke Shaw, per ESPN's Alex Shaw:
With Young set to turn 33 in the summer, there's room for another player to cement the position, particularly as Young's versatility could see him used more on the right if Darmian moves on.
Gaya, 22, would be a strong choice. He's superb with the ball at his feet, and his overlapping runs can add width to United's left flank.
He's an intelligent decision-maker, and he looks to contribute going forward with incisive balls into the box. Gaya has four assists this season and has contributed 16 overall in 137 appearances for Los Che.
His club recently lauded him on Twitter:
As Valencia note on their official website, Gaya is not only strong in an attacking sense but also defensively, too, and the numbers bear that out. He has the highest tackle completion of any Valencia player in La Liga and only two of his team-mates have won possession more times for the side.
Gaya is the same age as Shaw, but the Spaniard is further along in his development having avoided injuries and other hindrances.
He's got room to continue improving, too, so he could prove to be a valuable asset at Old Trafford if United can secure his signature.