Chris Smalling has been pictured undergoing his medical in Rome ahead of joining AS Roma on a season-long loan.
The Englishman, who was considered indispensable by Jose Mourinho, has not featured in the Premier League so far this season, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opting for Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof as his defensive duo.
Solskjaer confirmed on Friday that Smalling had flown to Italy after it was agreed that the defender would not be a starting player this season.
Pictures have emerged of a smiling Smalling in Rome ahead of the move being officially announced.
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) August 30, 2019
Either way, shifting Smalling to Italy – following in the footsteps of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez – further reinforces the notion that Solskjaer, piece by piece, is dismantling the ‘deadwood’ in this team to lay the platform for something fresher, something which nods towards the future.
Smalling’s departure means that United only have 15 players who are over the age of 21, which will mean that during a season potentially consisting of over 50 games, youngsters – not just Mason Greenwood and Axel Tuanzebe, but less coveted names like James Garner and Brandon Williams, too – face the challenge of needing to deliver straight away.