Manchester United are in talks with Italian club Roma about extending Chris Smalling’s loan period in Italy.
The 30-year-old former England international moved to Serie A at the start of the season and since extended the current arrangement to take care of the coronavirus pandemic suspension, with the Italian season set to continue until the end of July, before August is taken up by the remaining UEFA cup competitions.
According to website Football Italia, Roma would like to keep Smalling for another season at least.
United had wanted to raise £25 million by selling Smalling but it appears that they are willing to settle for less as budgets have been slashed across Europe due to the coronavirus pandemic. Italy was one of the earliest and hardest hit by the coronavirus, and only the United States is putting in a more incompetent performance in dealing with the disease than Manchester United’s country, the United Kingdom.
Instead, the Italian club are reportedly offering £2.5 million to United to extend the loan arrangement into the rest of the following season, and will also put in a clause to sign Smalling for £13 million at the end of his loan period.
Smalling had fallen out of favour under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer because he could not be relied upon to pass the ball to other players, nor could he be relied upon to stand in the right place or to tackle players near him, nor could he reliably head the ball away from danger. As this are fundamental skills required of a footballer, particularly a defender, it made less sense to keep him compared to Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof, the current first-team pairing.
Similarly deficient Phil Jones is also likely to be asked to find a new club in the transfer window, with Andreas Pereira, Jesse Lingard and others also set for the exit.