Chris Smalling to hold showdown talks with Jose Mourinho

Manchester United central defender Chris Smalling is set to hold showdown talks with manager Jose Mourinho ahead of the club’s pre-season tour of the United States of America. The 27-year-old has been linked with an exit from the Old Trafford club this summer after the arrival of Swedish defender Victor Lindelof who will be viewed as a partner for Eric Bailly who Mourinho signed just over a year ago. The Sun have reported that Smalling will seek assurances ahead of the upcoming season in a big to ensure he is still wanted at the Theatre of Dreams as he will want to be part of England’s squad for the FIFA World Cup in Russia if they qualify of course.

The reports seem to come from the Daily Mail in which they suggest Smalling will remain concerned if Mourinho does bring in another central defender this summer as it has been reported that as well as Lindelof, the Portuguese manager was interested in bringing back Michael Keane, but was unable to promise the player a guaranteed number of matches with him opting to move to Everton in what could be seen as a £30 million transfer. United have been linked with Borussia Dortmund defender Marc Bartra, but at this moment in time, I don’t feel these reports carry much credibility based on the fact AS started the rumour and The Sun and The Mirror also carried the reports.

Smalling obviously wants to remain a Manchester United player this summer with the club now back in the Champions League. In Louis van Gaal’s second season as manager of the Old Trafford club, Smalling was one of the best players, seemingly faltering over the past season, something which Mourinho may not be happy with. For me, Smalling is not the player he was tipped to become. He has been at the club for seven seasons now, still not showing anything to suggest why he should remain. If you look as the resurgence of Eric Bailly last season, his debut season in the Premier League, plus the massive improvement of Marcos Rojo, who will be sidelined through injury for much of the first half of the new season, Smalling’s contribution suggests United could do better.

Smalling is wanted by both West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion but he would only consider a move to a team playing in the Champions League, but at the end of the day, if none of them in the United Kingdom are interested in signing the player, a move abroad would be his only option, should any clubs be interested in him of course. The player has been on his honeymoon in the Seychelles this summer and is due to report back to pre-season training on Friday at the clubs AON Training Complex ahead of formalities being sorted out ahead of the squad leaving for Los Angeles on Sunday to prepare for the pre-season tour with the first match against LA Galaxy on Saturday 15th July 2017, the early hours of the 16th July in the UK.

Personally, I feel Smalling has had enough chances at Manchester United and with Axel Tuanzebe coming through the ranks, if Mourinho is happy giving the young lad a chance within the first team next season, the ability for him to play in a familiar role, rather than in the defensive midfield position would be better for his development. With Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo (who could be back at the end of the year), United have a strong core in defence. If another player comes in this summer, that will give five experienced players, plus Tuanzebe in the squad, which should be enough for the season with United playing in four competitions and expected to challenge for the Premier League title.

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