Manchester United defender Chris Smalling reportedly wants to stay at AS Roma after his loan spell with the Italian club expires at the end of the season. Manager Paulo Fonseca is confident of Smalling’s desire to remain at the Studio Olimpico and will do all he can to make sure that it happens. Smalling’s position at United will not be a good one.
Smalling, 30, has rediscovered his form in the Series A this season, making a total of 28 appearances in all competitions for the club, scoring two goals and a further assist for the Italian club. Fonseca recently spoke to ESPN regarding the player, also admitting that cutting a deal with United for Smalling was not straightforward. Fonseca said:
“I will do everything I can to keep him at Roma next year too. I know he wants to stay, let’s see what happens.
“He’s an amazing man, so humble, so professional. He is adored by the fans and established himself as one of the leaders in the dressing room.
“It’s not easy for English central defenders to adapt so quickly to Italian football, the record there isn’t good. But he has been amazing.”
Smalling, after his top performances for the Italian club, has been given the nickname ‘Smaldini’ from affection supporters of the club, suggesting that he has risen his game for the club despite making a fair few mistakes at United before his loan spell started. United have moved on with the addition of Harry Maguire last summer plus the form of Victor Lindelof.
It would be fair to suggest that Smalling is not currently in the plans of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, especially with the likes of Axel Tuanzebe coming through the ranks at the club. The academy defender had been injured a few times this season and before coronavirus stopped world football, he was nearing fitness once again.
However, after Smalling’s form in Italy, Solskjaer could be looking to include him in his plans once again, but that might be more of a wish for some and reality. There is not certainty that his form in Italy would carry back over into the Premier League, where he had seemingly struggled on more than one occasion. I guess we have to wait and see what happens.
It has been suggested that Roma’s ability to afford to permanently sign Smalling was in doubt before the coronavirus pandemic and even more so after the pandemic is over. Any future discussions on sanctioning a permanent deal will be held with the view of a completely different landscape in the transfer market.
Arsenal were said to be interested in Smalling , a player that United has valued at £25 million. If Roma were unable to keep Smalling after this summer, it is expected that they will favour a move for Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen when his contract expires this summer. United need to weigh their options up over the future of the former England defender.
With the fact that Smalling is not getting any younger, and that fact that they do not want to be selling players on the cheap, like they have been for many years, until recently. Smalling, in his current form, could be a good defensive partner for Magure, but that would be writing off the likes of Tuanzebe and Lindelof, so Solskjaer need to think about this one.