AS Roma have drawn up a list of five alternatives if they cannot sign Manchester United defender Chris Smalling this summer – and one of them is another United defender.
Smalling has become something of a cult hero at Roma this season whilst on loan from the Red Devils, but the two clubs remain poles apart in terms of a valuation to make the deal permanent.
United are reported to be asking €25 million (£21.7 million) for the 31-year-old, which the Italians say is far too much for a player of his age.
The negotiations reached an impasse during the January transfer window and with the Red Devils refusing to budge, the Giallorossi have started to look elsewhere.
‘[Rojo’s contract at Old Trafford] will expire with Manchester United in the summer (he is currently on loan to Estudiantes). It is not a first choice, but it has the advantage of not costing anything.’
The Italians have their facts wrong in this regard, as Rojo’s United contract does not expire until June 2021. However, it would certainly seem to be the case that the Argentinian would be available for much less than his English counterpart and it is even possible he would be released on a free by United to get his £80,000 per week wages off the books.
The outlet also claims that if Smalling goes to Arsenal, who have also shown an interest in the player, then Roma could make a move for the Gunners’ Sokratis Papastathoupoulos, who has played in Italy for Genoa and Milan before.
Other names on the shortlist are Spurs’ Jan Vertonghen and Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren, both of whom will be available on a free this summer, and Red Bull Leipzig’s Lukas Klostermann.
United are hoping to make Jadon Sancho the next player to wear the famous number 7 shirt. But how much do you know about the players who have worn it before? Take our quiz below to find out.