Chris Smalling has refused to rule out the prospect of joining AS Roma on a permanent deal next summer.
It was confirmed on European deadline day that Smalling had joined Roma on a season-long loan for a fee of €3m.
Speaking at his official unveiling, Smalling admitted that he would consider joining the Serie A side permanently if this season went well.
“This is an opportunity that came to me that I was very interested in, and I was very eager to come,” he said.
“It happened very quickly and now I focus on the next game, getting up to speed with training in terms of the manager’s methods and then hopefully have a very good season.
“To be able to have the chance at a big club, and then if it prolongs and the club is happy then I can definitely see a longer-term future in Italy.”
The loan deal, contrary to Radamel Falcao’s loan move to United, does not include an option-to-buy clause, which means that a fresh set of negotiations and terms would need to be laid out before Smalling leaves Old Trafford for good.
With United moving in a fresh direction under Solskjaer, Smalling, a true bastion of the post-Fergie era, may well decide that his interests are best served by remaining in Italy, a country where defending is considered an art form.
His first outing as a Roma player could come against Sassuolo on September 15.