AS Roma are waiting for a response from Manchester United after having lodged an improved bid for centre-back Chris Smalling.
The 30-year-old enjoyed a fantastic season in the Italian capital and despite being a loan player was even given the captain’s armband by teammate Edin Dzeko on one occasion.
The club was desperate to make the deal permanent in time for the Europa League knockout stages but was unable to offer more than €13 million (£12m), with United unwilling to accept less than €20 million (£18m) plus bonuses.
The talks reached an impasse and Smalling returned to Old Trafford. The England international could then only watch on the sidelines as both sides crashed out of the European competition.
However, on the 6th August, Roma were taken over by American billionaire Dan Friedkin, putting them on a firmer financial footing. And although ‘Friedkin’s arrival does not mean that Roma will suddenly offer the 20 million plus bonuses requested by Manchester United,’ as Giallorossi.net claims, the club has now reopened talks with an improved bid.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, earlier this week the Serie A giants proposed another season-long loan worth €3 million with compulsory purchase at the end of the year of €14 million, raising the total amount bid to €17 million (£15m).
‘From the London summit between Dan and Ryan Friedkin and [Roma’s CEO] Guido Fienga, the new owners’ green light has come to close the Smalling deal with Manchester United,’ Giallorossi.net reports.
‘[Roma] have entrusted the operation to a different intermediary to the one who brought Smalling to Italy.
‘[They will rely] on the player’s strong intention to continue his career in Italy. A pressure that could be decisive by rejecting any approach from other clubs.’
The fact that United have not yet rejected the offer suggests that they are considering it seriously. It may also suggest that whether they accept the bid or not will depend on whether they themselves are able to strengthen in the centre-back department – a reported bid for Monaco’s Benoit Badiashile was rejected yesterday – and also whether they are able to offload the likes of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo.
However, the Red Devils cannot afford to keep Roma waiting too long. The Italian side want an answer within ‘ten days at the most’ and have lined up a shortlist of three alternatives should the bid fail.
Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood scored over 60 goals between them last season. But how much do you know about other strikers who played for the Red Devils over the years? Take our quiz below to find out.