Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is reportedly set to leave the club, as he closes in on a loan switch to Serie A outfit AS Roma.
As per a report from Gianluca Di Marzio, Manchester United and England centre-half Chris Smalling is on the verge of sealing a transfer to Italian heavyweights AS Roma. The 29-year-old will be joining the Giallorossi on a season-long loan deal with the option of making the transfer permanent at the end of the season.
Smalling is one of the longest-serving members of the Manchester United squad, having joined the club in a £10 million deal from Fulham. The Englishman has racked up 323 appearances for the Red Devils till date, scoring 18 goals and winning 2 Premier League titles, a League Cup, an FA Cup and a UEFA Europa League trophy in the process.
One of the few survivors of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, Smalling has found himself out of favour in the new season, having not made the matchday squad for any of Manchester United’s three league matches so far. New signing Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof are the first-choice pairing under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with academy product Axel Tuanzebe, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo providing cover.
With Smalling and the injured Eric Bailly also among the ranks, it was quite clear that Manchester United were too heavy in the centre-back department and could use some shredding before the European transfer window closed.
For a long time it seemed like Rojo would be the one leaving, with Fenerbahce keen on signing him. However, as per latest reports, Smalling is poised to depart from Old Trafford in the coming days with Roma emerging as his next destination.
Talks over a transfer for the 29-year-old began two days ago with Manchester United initially demanding €20 million for his services. But, after negotiations the two clubs have reportedly agreed on a season-long loan deal with an initial fee of €3 million, with there being a possibility of making the transfer permanent for a fee of €17 million next summer.
Smalling had signed a new contract with Manchester United in December 2018, extending his stay at the club till 2022 with the option of an additional year. However, with reduced involvement, the England international is keen on a move in search of regular playing time, with Roma set to offer him just that.
Manchester United had reportedly turn down a loan offer from fellow Premier League outfit Everton for Smalling on the English transfer deadline day. However, they seem to have accepted the offer from Roma with the report claiming that the 29-year-old is scheduled to undergo a medical in the coming days.
Smalling is set to follow Chilean attacker Alexis Sanchez to Italy, who is poised to join Roma’s rivals Inter Milan on a season-long loan deal.