Arsenal are ready to beat AS Roma and Tottenham Hotspur in the race to sign Manchester United defender Chris Smalling, who could cost around £25 million.
According to Express, Arsenal are ready to splash the cash on Chris Smalling this summer. The Manchester United defender has emerged as their latest defensive target after impressing the onlookers with his performances for AS Roma in Serie A.
This could serve as a massive blow for Tottenham Hotspur, who were also weighing up a move for the defender. It was believed that Jose Mourinho was keen on finding a replacement for Jan Vertonghen in the summer and Smalling was identified as an ideal target.
But, with Arsenal reportedly ready to meet Smalling’s £25 million valuation, it puts them in the driver’s seat. The English international could seems like a shrewd signing for the Gunners, though, given his past struggles at Manchester United.
At the same time, however, Smalling’s successes at AS Roma simply cannot be overlooked. Indeed, he has become a revelation in Rome under Paulo Fonseca. His presence in the team has helped the Portuguese mastermind deal with an injury crisis earlier in the campaign.
But more importantly, Smalling has built a solid defensive partnership alongside Gianluca Mancini. As a result, the Giallorossi have managed to recover from a dreadful start to the season and now have an excellent chance of securing qualification for the UEFA Champions League next season.
At Arsenal, the 30-year-old could serve as an alternative to Sokratis, who has failed to maintain consistency throughout the course of the campaign. Same can be said about Sokratis while Calum Chambers and Rob Holding have suffered numerous fitness issues.
Arsenal have brought in Pablo Mari on loan in January. But, it remains to be seen whether or not the Spaniard will be able to live up to the expectations. Smalling, in that regard, would emerge as a low-risk option, given his experience in the Premier League.
The London born defender has made a whopping 323 competitive appearances for Manchester United, 219 of which have come in the Premier League. Smalling’s aggression, combined with his ability to read the game, could tune in well with Mikel Arteta’s tactical setup at Emirates.
Moreover, a fee of just £25 million makes this deal, a financially feasible one for Arsenal, who have been struggling with lack of funds following a spending spree last summer. Therefore, Smalling is indeed a viable target for the north London giants as they aim to usher in a new era under Arteta next season.