Failing to fit in under Antonio Conte doesn’t diminish Diego Godin’s talents… the Atletico Madrid warrior is still inside and Manchester United could use him in similar fashion to Laurent Blanc under Sir Alex Ferguson

  • Defender Diego Godin has failed to fit into Antonio Conte’s system at Inter Milan
  • He has been linked with a move to Manchester United, not for the first time 
  • Godin could be of use to United despite his age and could impact the future 
  • However, he could return to Atletico Madrid to coach alongside Diego Simeone 

Diego Godin made no secret of what he thought about the future when he gave his goodbye press conference at Atletico Madrid at the end of last season. ‘The greatest period of my career has come to an end,’ he said.

That is pretty much how things have panned out since with Inter Milan now keen on losing him after one season in Italy despite him having another 12 months left on his deal.

Not for the first time in his career he has been linked with a move to Manchester United the club he might have signed for in 2018.

Diego Godin could be leaving Inter Milan despite having one year left on his deal

Diego Godin could be leaving Inter Milan despite having one year left on his deal

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United are linked with the centre-back once again

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United are linked with the centre-back once again

Part of his form problems in Italy can be put down to him having to play in a back three under Antonio Conte. It’s also true that Manchester United are looking for another centre-back this summer. And it is hard to argue with the idea that Godin has the sort of huge experience that Laurent Blanc had when he signed for Sir Alex Ferguson in 2001. But this still feels like a deal that had to be done two seasons ago, or never.

One of the great centre-backs of the last 20 years has had several flirtations with the Premier League in his time in Spain. Manuel Pellegrini wanted to take him to Manchester City long before the possible Manchester United deal.

When United failed to land him it appeared they had been played by a player just trying to get a huge new contract out of his current club. That was maybe wide of the mark. Godin never did commit his long-term future to Atletico . There was no final lucrative pay-day, and in the end he left for Inter.

His form in Italy has suggested that while getting him in 2018 might not have been the worst thing for Manchester United, taking Godin now in 2020 as Corriere dello Sport suggest, would not make as much sense. He is 34 and this season he has only played eight full matches.

There is a passing resemblance between Godin and Blanc. And there would be a resemblance to the signing too if he arrived at Old Trafford.

He would be arriving one year younger than Blanc, and Sir Alex Ferguson always defended the Frenchman. Blanc struggled at first with the pace of English football but recovered and brought a steadying influence that meant that while far from being an undisputed success, when he left he was at least well enough respected enough to be considered as a replacement for David Moyes as United manager.

Despite being 34 years old, the defender could be of use to Manchester United in the future

Despite being 34 years old, the defender could be of use to Manchester United in the future

However, he could return to Atletico to begin his coaching career alongside Diego Simeone

However, he could return to Atletico to begin his coaching career alongside Diego Simeone

Many United fans were still left asking the question ‘why?’ when he signed. And they would probably ask the same about the Uruguayan if he arrives this summer.

Godin doesn’t look an obvious fit as a Harry Maguire partner and the idea that he might come in to inspire the younger players also doesn’t convince.

Where he would doubtlessly inspire is back at his old club Atletico Madrid where he is still adored.

Diego Simeone’s number two Mono Burgos is likely to leave the club at the end of the season and when he goes there will be a huge gap alongside Simeone to fill.

If Godin wants to start his coaching career now, then where better to do so than at the Metropolitano alongside Simeone.

If Godin moved to United, it could pave the way for Diego Simeone to join in years to come

If Godin moved to United, it could pave the way for Diego Simeone to join in years to come

If United do take a look, maybe the prospect of it working should not be completely dismissed out of hand. The fact that Inter are playing three centre-backs and that Godin has played his entire career as the leader of a back four, is an important caveat to his struggles in Serie A. 

Could United get him back to his best taking him away from Antonio Conte and his tactical preferences? And would his presence at Old Trafford even pave the way for a longer-term attempt at bringing in Diego Simeone. That’s a lot of ifs and buts for a club showing signs of having successfully turned around previously woeful transfer policy.

The alternative possibility to a move back to Spain, where Valencia have also been linked, is that Godin hangs up his boots. If he does retire then we shouldn’t skimp on the eulogies.

The man who scored the goal that won La Liga at the Camp Nou in 2014 also led Atletico to two Champions League finals. Failing to fit in under Conte in Serie A does nothing to diminish that.

 

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