Report: Jose Mourinho Wants Marcos Rojo, Matteo Darmian to Stay with Red Devils

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2018

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03:  Alexis Sanchez of Manchester United and Marcos Rojo of Manchester United react after the Premier League match between Manchester United and Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford on February 3, 2018 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
Alex Morton/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho wants Marcos Rojo and Matteo Darmian to remain at Old Trafford this season, with both defenders linked with moves away before the closure of the European transfer windows.

Rob Dawson of ESPN FC reported the pair will decide their futures in the coming weeks, with Mourinho informing the players he wants them to stay in his squad.

Per Dawson, Rojo has been linked with a potential loan move to Turkish giants Fenerbahce, while Darmian is reportedly being monitored by Juventus, Inter Milan and Napoli.

MUNICH, GERMANY - AUGUST 05: Matteo Darmian of Manchester United looks on during the friendly match between Bayern Muenchen and Manchester United at Allianz Arena on August 5, 2018 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

A move back to Italy would be favourable for the full-back after failing to hold down a starting place at the Theatre of Dreams.

Mourinho's failure to sign a centre-back has forced him to rethink the shape of his squad.

The reintroduction of Luke Shaw in the starting XI will ease worries at left-back, but the departure of Daley Blind has elevated the importance of Rojo's role.

The Argentina international can play on the left or centre, and with United's poor injury record in recent years, Mourinho will want to retain a numerical advantage.

Argentina's defender Marcos Rojo (lower) celebrates his goal with Argentina's forward Lionel Messi during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group D football match between Nigeria and Argentina at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on June 26, 2018.

Selling Rojo and Darmian would hurt the club before they have a chance to recruit a top-class defender in January.

Neither player will be automatic picks if they stay in Manchester, but both have a good chance of plenty of minutes this season.

Darmian started the first game of the new Premier League campaign on Friday, as United beat Leicester City 2-1 at Old Trafford.

The Italian gave a good account of himself at right-back, and he has the experience needed to keep young recruit Diogo Dalot on the sidelines.

However, Antonio Valencia remains Mourinho's favoured choice at right-back when available.

Bleacher Report's Dean Jones speculated about Rojo's immediate future in England:

Dean Jones @DeanJonesBR

If Fenerbahce progress in the Champions League tonight they will look more seriously into signing Marcos Rojo. If they don't, they won't.

Rojo featured in only 10 games for United in the Premier League and UEFA Champions League last term due to injury, but he has proved he can be a regular at centre-back when in top form.

United supporters dearly wanted to see a new defender arrive in the recent summer transfer window, but they will have to be content with the current stock.

The Red Devils conceded just 28 goals in the Premier League last season—one goal more than champions Manchester City—proving defence is not the team's most pressing issue.

However, Mourinho has been forced to play his midfield deeper to protect his back-four, affecting United's long-term productivity in the attacking positions.