The long saga of Chris Smalling’s transfer to AS Roma looks to finally be drawing to a conclusion.
The 30-year-old enjoyed a fantastic season in the Italian capital and quickly made himself invaluable to the Serie A side. Despite being a loan player, he was even given the captain’s armband by teammate Edin Dzeko on one occasion.
Roma were desperate to make the deal permanent in time for the Europa League knockout stages but were unable to offer more than €13 million (£12m), with United unwilling to accept less than €20 million (£18m) plus bonuses.
Endless reports have emerged indicating a deal was close, then further away, then close again, with each one suggesting different figures, both offered and demanded, than the one before.
However, reports from both England and Italy today suggest that everyone might finally be singing from the same hymn sheet and that the England defender will finally get his wish to return to Rome.
According to The Telegraph, Smalling ‘is out of Manchester United’s pre-season training while the player and his representatives negotiate the terms of his departure’.
‘Smalling has not been at Carrington for the sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday and is hopeful of a smooth resolution to talks on his departure from the club he arrived at from Fulham ten years ago.’
Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport agrees that a deal is close.
‘The Roma market is starting to give out signals.
‘Smalling … could receive the green light from Manchester United by this weekend.
‘The agreement with the player has already been found, the one with the English club must be perfected.’
So far so good, although the two reports seem quite some distance apart in terms of what Roma might have put on the table in terms of a transfer fee.
According to The Telegraph, ‘Roma … value the 30-year-old at between £15 million and £20 million.’
Gazzetta, meanwhile, claims that any deal is ‘always starting from the base of €12 million [£10.75] plus bonuses.’
Of course, the overall valuation and base are two separate issues and the key to the deal is finding that compromise between initial outlay – which is unlikely to be more than that £10.75 million, and the overall transfer value, which could still reach £20 million.
It would certainly be in everyone’s interests to move the player on as quickly as possible and it will no doubt come as a great relief to many when one of the most protracted transfer deals of the year finally comes to a conclusion.
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