Chris Smalling’s long-term future appears to lie away from Manchester United, as he could be sold in the summer.
United have reportedly set an asking price of £25million [Mail] for the defender and several clubs are keeping their eye on the situation.
However, selling him to another Premier League side would be an unnecessary risk that they don’t need to take.
Mixed spell at United
Smalling had been a regular at United since signing from Fulham in 2010, making 323 appearances for the club.
The 30-year-old has won two Premier League titles and started in the victorious FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League final victories in 2016 and 2017.
He even won the players Players of the Year award for his impressive performances under Louis van Gaal in 2015-16.
However, Smalling has often divided United supporters as he can be prone to silly mistakes.
The centre-back was eventually deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford after United spent £80million on Harry Maguire in 2019.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also has other options in that area including Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe.
Success in Italy
After falling down the pecking order under Solskjaer, Smalling made a surprise loan move to Roma in search of regular first-team football.
Smalling has rejuvenated his career at the Serie A side this season, establishing himself as a key figure under the guidance of Paulo Fonseca.
The defender has played all 90 minutes in 20 of Roma’s last 21 league matches, scoring two goals and keeping six clean sheets in the process.
His commanding displays have also made him a fan favourite, and he has affectionately been nicknamed ‘Smalldini’.
Smalling’s revival has been so impressive that he has even played himself into a potential recall for England.
The Italians are keen on making Smalling’s stay permanent at the end of the season, but they will have to fend off competition from other clubs.
Premier League rivals
Smalling’s performances have seen him linked with a number of other Premier League sides, including Arsenal.
He might not be in United’s plans going forward, but he’d still be the best centre-back at the Emirates.
The Red Devils have sold the Gunners a few players over the years, including Mikael Silvestre, Danny Welbeck and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
United didn’t regret any of those sales but Smalling could be the exception to the rule if he joins Arsenal in the summer.
He offers vast experience and also takes a more no-nonsense approach to defending which is exactly what Arsenal need to fix their leaky defence.
Mikel Arteta’s side aren’t that far behind United and a strong new centre-back could save them a lot of points next season.
Fortunately for Solskjaer, Smalling’s performances in Italy ensure that he’ll have plenty of suitors from outside of England.
Therefore, United are in a strong negotiating position and we don’t have to strengthen any of our direct rivals.
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