Chris Smalling is open to a permanent stay with Roma if an agreement can be reached with Manchester United, according to sources close to the player.
The 29-year-old was shocked to discover he was the odd-man-out when the Red Devils allowed him to move to the Olympic Stadium last month on a season-long loan.
United became ‘top-heavy’ with central defenders following the £80m arrival of Harry Maguire from Leicester City, forcing boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to choose between Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo, all of whom signed new contract extensions during the past 12 months.
Yet it was still a surprise Smalling was the one shown the door, having been a regular starter last season, making 34 appearances and proving to be United’s most reliable defender.
He is yet to make his Roma debut after picking up a muscle problem in training last week but members of his circle insist he already feels comfortable in the Eternal City, hinting he would be receptive to a permanent stay.
Smalling has formed a quick bond with his new team-mates and is confident he can win over his new employers, who are paying around half towards his present £140,000-per-week wages.
He is renting an apartment close to Roma’s training HQ and his Cheshire home is currently up for sale, suggesting he is open to ending his nine-year association with United, if a deal can be brokered at the end of the season.
The England international joined United from Fulham for £10m back in 2010, winning two Premier League titles during that time.
Smalling recently told the Italian media: “I’ve always had a desire deep down to experience this (playing abroad). There is a lot of responsibility on the defence as a whole (in Italy) and the centre-backs too, but that is something I enjoy.”
One potential hurdle could be the haggling over a fee with United, who still value Smalling at around £20m in the present inflated market, giving Roma plenty of food for thought if they do consider the likeable Londoner the eventual right fit.Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.