Arsenal have reportedly submitted an enquiry to Manchester United over the availability of Chris Smalling in the current window.
According to an exclusive report by The Gambling Times, Chris Smalling is the subject of interest from Arsenal, who are eager to sign a centre-back this month. The Gunners have submitted an enquiry to Manchester United over the availability of the English defender.
Smalling joined Manchester United from Fulham in the summer of 2010 and has since had a roller coaster ride at Old Trafford. After taking a few years to stake a rightful claim at becoming a first-choice centre-back, he enjoyed a couple of seasons of top quality football under Louis van Gaal.
Under Jose Mourinho though, Smalling has been in and out of the side, with Phil Jones and Eric Bailly the first-choice central defensive partnership. But, Bailly’s long-term ankle injury has helped his cause, with the player striking a fantastic partnership with Jones at the heart of the Manchester United defence, making 27 appearances in all.
— Tom McDermott (@MrTomMcDermott) January 22, 2018
But, there are fears that Smalling will be back on the bench once Bailly returns to fitness. The player, however, has his fair share of admirers who would love to secure his services. On such club is Arsenal, who are looking to sign a centre-back this month.
Arsene Wenger currently has six centre-backs at his disposal, including the versatile Nacho Monreal. But, Per Mertesacker will hang up his boots at the end of the season, while age seems to be catching up to Laurent Koscielny. There are doubts surrounding Shkodran Mustafi’s Arsenal future as well, making the need to sign a centre-back an urgent one.
Arsenal have been heavily linked with a move for Jonny Evans, who they’ve been following since last summer. But, Manchester City are the favourites to sign the former Manchester United defender, which is why the Gunners have now turned their attention towards Smalling.
Wenger is of the opinion that Manchester United would be willing to do business with them after the deals that saw Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan trade places. With Smalling no longer the first-choice at Old Trafford, Arsenal believe they can swoop him away to North London.
Manchester United might be open to a selling Smalling to the Gunners, although any possible deal hinges on Bailly returning to fitness. As of now though, the deal looks unlikely, with the Ivorian only penciled in for a return next month. But, Arsenal are the likeliest destination, should Smalling end up leaving Old Trafford.