Roma’s fierce desire to make Manchester United centre back Chris Smalling’s loan move permanent has dampened this week, casting doubt and confusion over the player’s future.
Smalling has excelled for the Giallorossi this season and was even handed the captain’s armband by Edin Dzeko in a recent Europa League game, such has been the influence that the Englishman has had on the Italian side.
As reported here previously, Roma are believed to have opened negotiations by offering around £10 million, with United holding out for a figure closer to £18 million. However, according to new reports from Italy, as Smalling’s outstanding performances having attracted interest from clubs such as Arsenal, Juventus and Everton, United now believe they can get more for the player. Roma, however, are reluctant to enter a bidding war and are reported to have taken a step back in their pursuit.
Gazetto dello Sport claim that Roma are looking to Smalling himself to put pressure on United to come to the table with a reasonable counter-offer. ‘The feeling is that, given the excellent lifestyle that he has in the capital, it will have to be Smalling himself that stands up and asks to stay, given that the Italian club cannot pay a crazy amount for a 30-year-old defender, albeit in state of grace.’
— RomaPress (@ASRomaPress) December 10, 2019
The situation may be further complicated by the fact that Smalling has picked up a knee injury that will keep him out of action, and the shop window, for the rest of 2019. With the ball seemingly back in United’s court, it may be prudent to offer Roma some encouragement at this stage and get a pragmatic deal done in January rather than risk alienating the player’s most committed suitor.