Manchester United yesterday confirmed that Alexis Sanchez and Chris Smalling would continue their Italian loan deals until the end of the domestic season but that they would not be able to take part in the Europa League.
The two players are on loan at Inter Milan (Sanchez) and Roma (Smalling), two of the strongest teams left in a competition that United are desperate to win.
Under the terms of the original loan deals, both players were eligible to play in the competition but now that all three clubs are left in the last 16, due to be played out in August, United negotiators have rightly insisted on a cut-off date for the loan extensions that will prevent them from taking part.
‘Smalling will stay at the Stadio Olimpico for the rest of the Serie A season, which is currently scheduled to last until the beginning of August, due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,’ the club confirmed on their official website.
‘Alexis’s deal at Inter Milan has also been extended until the end of the first week of next month.’
It is a wise move from United’s negotiators. It makes no sense to sanction loans that will strengthen their competitors in a major tournament. It also sweetens any permanent deal that Inter or Roma might make for either player, effectively saying ‘buy him outright by the start of August and he can play for you in the Europa League.’
United would dearly love to offload the pair on permanent deals. Roma are desperate to sign Smalling but have been balking at the £20 million price tag. Inter have not as yet made a decision on Sanchez.
‘His outright purchase will mainly depend on the field, but will also come down to the possible figures of the operation, both from the point of view of the transfer fee and the salary,’ says Calciomercato.com.
‘It would be impossible to get even close to the more than €20 million that he receives from Manchester United just as it is impossible to foresee a major outlay for his transfer.
‘These are open topics that must be supported by his performances on the field.’
The Chilean’s performance yesterday was certainly a good step in the right direction. He scored a penalty and provided an assist for former Red Devil Ashley Young as the Nerazzurri cruised past Brescia 6-0 in Serie A.
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