Chris Smalling’s loan spell at Serie A club, Roma will not be extended for the remainder of the team’s Europa League campaign after the defender spent the entirety of the 2019-20 season in the Italian capital.
Smalling broke the news to fans on Twitter:
I’m gutted that I can’t finish what we started this season. To experience the love shown to me in such a short time was extra special and it will not be forgotten. I want to thank and wish all the players and staff the best of luck against Sevilla. DAJE ROMA! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/9vHfpWUNsz— Chris Smalling (@ChrisSmalling) August 4, 2020
The confirmation comes after speculation that Manchester United would not extend the loans of Smalling or Alexis Sánchez as Roma and Inter Milan were in direct competition with United in the Europa League knockout stages. However, unlike Smalling, Sánchez will finish out the EL campaign with Inter with the added possibility to completing a permanent move.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer commented on Smalling’s loan situation in an official club statement.
“I think Chris has shown, over his career at Manchester United, how valuable he is for United. This season was about him being a regular and going to Roma, showing and proving how good a centre-back he is.
“I wanted to give Harry [Maguire] and Victor [Lindelof] and maybe Axel [Tuanzebe] a chance and so he found out that it was best for him to go to Roma to play for a year.
“Now he’s coming back. Chris has shown this season that he will be valuable so I’ve been speaking to Chris throughout and been delighted with his season.”
Of course, new speculation will emerge after Smalling enjoyed a resurgence in Rome — especially with talks that United are in the market for a possible depth upgrade at center half.