Chris Smalling is not involved in Manchester United’s pre-season training according to the Telegraph.

They report that Smalling is close to joining Roma on a permanent basis, having spent last season on loan there.

Smalling is hoping for a smooth end to the talks and has apparently not been at Carrington this week as negotiations over his exit continue.

The report claims the fee – if Smalling does leave as expected – will be between £15 and £20 million.

Somewhat interestingly, the report also says that United have tried to delay his departure and keep their central defensive options open.

But his loan exit eased the burden on the wage budget last summer and would clear space on it permanently now.

(Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The fact of the matter is that Smalling is better than Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo.

 

But of those who are down United’s central defensive pecking order, he was the one who garnered loan interest last summer and now is by far best placed to generate sales income for the club this time around.

There is perhaps a lesson to be learned for United, in terms of the futures of Jones and Rojo this summer.

Even a loan spell away could reinvigorate the careers of both defensive outcasts, and generate permanent transfer interest in them this time next year.

Smalling has clearly shone away from the glare of Old Trafford and deserves credit for doing the business abroad – not many English players have done that in recent years.

Now, he looks set to recoup some funds for United during a summer when outgoings can be vital in terms of balancing the books during these uncertain financial times.

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