Chris Smalling may face United in the Europa League this season as a compromise deal to keep him at Roma looks to have been agreed in principle.
Smalling has been a huge success in the Italian capital and is keen to stay, but the two clubs had until now been poles apart in their valuation for a transfer fee.
Roma had offered €14 million (£12.5m) but United have been holding out for €25 million (£22m), a figure the Italians believe is unrealistic for a 30-year-old centre-back.
But the prospect of losing their star defender for the final stages of the Europa League and the season to come has lured the Italians back to the negotiating table and an offer has now been made that Italian transfer expert Alfredo Pedulla claims United have accepted, with just a few details left to be ironed out.
‘We are now there, only the last bureaucratic steps are missing: there have been two meetings in the last week and continuous contacts, practically non-stop,’ Pedulla wrote on his website AlfredoPedulla.com.
‘The last formal steps are missing, but this is an operation with a redemption obligation and related payments in three instalments: three million [£2.7m] for the interest-bearing loan, 17 [£15.25m] for the redemption.
‘Manchester United have accepted, now all that remains is to define the final details, with the total will of Smalling.’
If this season’s original €3 million loan payment is included, the total the Italian club will have invested in the England International will be €23 million, very close to the €25 million the Red Devils wanted.
It is therefore an excellent piece of negotiating from Ed Woodward and Matt Judge.
Smalling could now face United this season, despite the fact that the terms of his original loan would have prevented it. Should both teams progress through the Round of 16 and quarter-finals of the Europa League they will meet in the semi-final on August 16th or 17th.
Smalling missed Roma’s game against Parma yesterday through an adductor tendon injury which will also keep him out of their next game against Brescia.
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