Transfer News: Manchester United defender Chris Smalling closing in on AS Roma return

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is reportedly one step closer to joining AS Roma on a permanent deal worth £18 million plus bonuses.

According to a report by Daily Mirror, Manchester United are set to agree a deal with AS Roma for the sale of Chris Smalling. The Serie A outfit have offered their Premier League heavyweights a deal worth £18 million apart from add-ons, with Smalling set to sign a three-year contract in Rome.

Smalling joined Manchester United from Fulham over a decade ago and subsequently flitted in and out of the side over the several seasons that followed. His best spell as a Manchester United player came under the tutelage of Louis van Gaal while also enjoying impressive periods when Jose Mourinho was at the helm at Old Trafford.

However, following the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, it slowly started to become clear that Smalling was not going to remain a regular at the heart of the Manchester United defence. His fate was sealed when the Red Devils secured the services of Harry Maguire in a big-money transfer last summer.

Smalling was then shipped out to AS Roma on a season-long loan deal, in a move that came as a bit of a surprise. The 30-year-old, though, impressed during his stay in the Italian capital, turning out 37 times for the Giallorossi, even chipping in with 3 goals and 2 assists. The player subsequently returned to Manchester United when his loan spell was not extended for the Europa League games.

Set to celebrate a return to Roma. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Set to celebrate a return to Roma. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

While back at United, it was still believed that Smalling’s future was away from Old Trafford. There was interest from Newcastle United and other Premier League clubs. However, the experienced star had his heart set on a return to Serie A, with Roma keen on signing him permanently.

In recent weeks, there were further developments around the rumours linking Smalling and Roma with a reunion. The 30-year-old now appears to be set to seal a permanent switch to Stadio Olimpico, with Roma lodging a bid worth £18 million plus performance-related variables.

Retaining Smalling was important for Paulo Fonseco, who is set to lose Aleksandar Kolarov to Inter Milan. The veteran Serb was utilised as a centre-back plenty of times last season and signing Smalling from Manchester United on a relatively economical package appears to be a step in the right direction for Roma.

Reputed Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio has shed further light on the operation, claiming that Smalling will sign a three-year contract with Roma, including another year on loan, with the Giallorossi having an obligation to buy him from Manchester United next summer.

For all intents and purposes, though, Smalling’s time at Old Trafford is up after over 300 outings for the Red Devils. What now remains to be seen is Manchester United replace him with a centre-back, with Dayot Upamecano among those on their radar.

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