Liam Sweeting and the rest of the recruitment at MK Dons, identified Darling as an exciting up and coming ball playing centre back in the 2020/21 campaign, bringing him in from Cambridge United in the January window in that campaign.
Darling has adjusted to League One level with ease and chipped in with ten goals in 49 appearances in all competitions last season.
With the growth of three at the back and the importance of style of play increasing in recent years, Darling is arguably the most modern-looking centre back in the bottom two tiers of the EFL and it is not a surprise to see interest from Premier League clubs this summer.
Adept at breaking lines to carry the ball out of defence, with a very eye-catching range of passing for his position, Darling oozes class in the third tier and is destined to play at a much higher level.
First team opportunities may well take priority in choosing between the three clubs mentioned in the coming months, although the financial package would likely be more glamorous at Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.
Brighton have a built a very good reputation for developing young talent in recent years, be that via the loan system or in smartly recruiting precocious talents to go straight into their first team.
A starting berth would be most likely with the Canaries, but Graham Potter’s methods could peak the interest of Darling’s representatives, considering how the likes of Ben White and Marc Cucurella have developed under him in recent years.
Quiz: Have any of these 28 ex-Fulham players ever played for Chelsea?
Definitely not the first name that springs to the mind of Chelsea supporters in looking for an Antonio Rudiger replacement, but Darling certainly has the technical ability to become an effective Premier League defender in the coming years.