Manchester United have informed Italian club AS Roma that they must be ready to pay £25million if they want to sign Chris Smalling on a permanent deal. Smalling has featured 20 times for Roma this season, scoring twice and helping to keep seven clean sheets across all competitions.
The 30-year-old centre-back has been in superb form since leaving Old Trafford for Italy after falling down the pecking order behind the likes of Victor Lindelof, Eric Baily, Phil Jones and summer signing Harry Maguire. He played 34 times last season before he was loaned out.
According to The Sun, Roma have opened discussions with the Old Trafford chiefs by launching an initial £13m bid with £3.5m in add-ons, but United turned down the bid because the club believe that Smalling has already shown enough to justify their valuation.
The reports added that United also cited his homegrown status as another factor in terms of what they could ask for in England. The 30-year-old is said to be keen to secure a switch to Roma permanently after settling in well to life in the Italian capital, and would even consider taking a cut to his £130,000 a week wages to push a deal through.
Since joining the Serie A, the former Fulham defender is back to his best after playing alongside fellow centre back Gianluca Mancini and leading Roma to fourth place in the Serie A table. Smalling has also rediscovered the confidence after a difficult 2018/19 left him no choice than to leave Old Trafford.
His displays have been so valuable to Roma that they are now scrambling to get the deal done amid fears he could be interesting other teams, who could beat them to the punch and outbid them.
Smalling has made 323 appearances for the Red Devils across a decade-long spell, scoring 18 goals and winning eight trophies since signing from Fulham in 2010. He is said to be in contention for a spot in the England national team ahead of the Euro turanment next year, and the defender will be keen to continue his progress at Roma.
Meanwhile, speaking recently, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed Smalling for his performances on loan at Roma this season.
He said: ”Chris has been fantastic.
“We know that sometimes if you change the environment it can go both ways.
“Chris is the type to relish these challenges and he’s cultured and he enjoys life there.
“It’s a different life, it’s a new experience for him.
“He’s a boy who, he couldn’t be here without being a regular and we decided on that and I’m so, so happy for him, because we can see the top player that he is.”