Chris Smalling reportedly on the radar of West Ham United this summer

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is a transfer target for West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini who reportedly has a £70 million transfer budget this summer. It has been talked about for a few years now as to whether Smalling has what it takes to succeed at United, finishing his seventh season for the club just before the summer break. A mix of injury and a struggle to find form has plagued the former England international, who was omitted from England’s FIFA World Cup squad this summer.

It has been reported for months now that United manager Jose Mourinho is after a new central defender with Tottenham Hotspur’s Toby Alderweireld linked to the club, despite a £75 million price tag slapped on the player, with United willing to pay around £50 million for the Belgian, according to reports, which are contested by other reports out there. We are in silly season after all. Some journalists contradict themselves, which is quite funny at times.

Smalling could be limited to a bit part figure in the coming season if a new defender arrives at the Theatre of Dreams, which could see him with a decision to make, hopefully not one which will be a long-winded and cringeworthy as the one Antoine Griezmann put out announcing that he would stay at Atletico Madrid this summer, the second summer he has decided to remain at the club, despite Barcelona being linked heavily to the French international.

This is not the first summer that Smalling has been linked with an exit from United, he was linked to Arsenal in the past few years, also targeted by other Premier League clubs last summer, but no firm offers materialised and the player continued at United, ending the season much stronger than he started. Mourinho is seeking more experience and leadership at the back, as Smalling and others do not have the required skills to maintain United’s back line by themselves, warranting a more secure player within the team.

Mourinho has many players at the club in this position with Victor Lindelof arriving last summer, Eric Bailly arriving the summer before, added to Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Smalling and Daley Blind, who has been linked with an exit himself, Inter Milan have been linked to the Dutch international who played a peripheral role last season. United also have Axel Tuanzebe at their perusal and Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who spent the season on loan at Crystal Palace, playing at right-back, but has the ability to play in central defence and midfield in his locker.

Smalling has been at United for long enough to be the bigger figure at the club but there are many doubts as to why he has not achieved that. At times last season, he seemed edgy and scared in the heart of defence but at other times, he seemed full of confidence, even when scoring what turned into the winner in the Manchester derby at the Etihad in April where United were 2-0 down at half-time with Paul Pogba scoring a brace and Smalling finding the winner in the game. Sadly, Smalling has not been that figure on a consistent basis, which is probably one of the reasons as to why he was not picked to represent England at the World Cup in Russia this summer, which will have been a big blow

Sadly, Smalling has not been that figure on a consistent basis, which is probably one of the reasons as to why he was not picked to represent England at the World Cup in Russia this summer, which will have been a big blow personally for the player. If he is surplus to requirements at United this summer, with Mourinho having lots of deadwood to eject from the club in order to turn their fortunes around, the former England international may receive more offers, all of which will be a step down from the Theatre of Dreams.

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