Manchester United defender looking to reunite with his former Italian side.
AS Roma are set to permanently secure the services of Manchester United defender Chris Smalling after his very successful loan spell with the club last season.
Smalling was heavily impressive during his time with the Italian club, fitting in well into manager Paulo Fonseca’s dynamic back three as one of their main center-backs. The 30-year-old made a total of 37 appearances in all competitions last season, scoring three goals and keeping 9 clean sheets helping Roma to fifth in Serie A after which he was recalled back to United.
The Italian club are now prepared to pay an initial 15 million Euros ($17.5 million) plus a further 5 million in add-ons to sign the aging defender permanently. The England international was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2010 from Fulham, and went on to make 323 appearances for the club. After initially being one of the preferred center-backs for many successors to Ferguson, he slowly fell down the pecking order at the club. Smalling had always polarized opinions between the United fans, with the majority feeling he lacked the authority and leadership skills to command the back-line of such a big club and there were certainly question marks about his quality and whether he was good enough to be a United player.
There were always streaks and flashes of the great player he could be, which could be seen most notably in his performance in the Europa League final in 2017 against Ajax where he was commanding in defense and his nod down resulted with Henrikh Mkhitaryan slotting home the winner. But defensive errors and inconsistency saw him falling out of favor at Old Trafford under new manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The move to Roma should give Smalling renewed confidence, especially after his impressive spell with the club last season. He claimed that although he joined Roma on a temporary basis last year, he “instantly” knew it was going to be his long-term home.
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