Manchester United defender Chris Smalling could return to the club at the end of his loan to Roma, despite recent speculation his move to Italy would be made permanent.
Smalling, who was set to be a back-up player had he stayed at Old Trafford this season, has made a strong start to life at Roma and it has been rumoured that the Serie A club are keen for the 29-year-old to stay beyond the end of the campaign.
However, as things stand, the defender is still set to return to Manchester as nothing about a permanent transfer has yet been formally discussed, according to Sky Sports.
United head of development John Murtough travelled to the Italian capital last week to sit down with Roma officials, but the Daily Mail reported that the meeting was for him to check on Smalling’s progress and no transfer negotiations took place.
Smalling returning to United is just the situation as it stands because the issue has not properly been touched upon. Whether things might change is another matter, however.
Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio claimed at the end of last week that Smalling has ‘already convinced everyone’ at Roma. The club were said to be working on their transfer proposal and Di Marzio suggested a first meeting with United of that nature could take place in the ‘coming weeks’.
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Manchester – the club, the people, the city, has always held a special place in my heart but I still have as much desire to play regular first team football as I did when I joined the club over 9 years ago. @officialasroma is a fantastic club, with a lot of history, and I’m relishing the new challenge they have offered me. I’m excited to experience a new league, experience the culture and get really stuck in to support Roma’s domestic and European ambitions. To all the staff, players and fans at @manchesterunited , the journey so far has been a pleasure, wishing you the best of luck for the season. ❤️
Whatever happens, Smalling certainly seems to be enjoying the fresh challenge.
“I’m really enjoying Italian football and I think it does suit my game,” he recently told Forbes.
“Hopefully come May I can say I’ve had a good season, the team has had a good season and it’s been a great success. I think having the opportunity to experience Serie A at a big club like Roma was too good to turn down.”
Roma currently sit fifth in Serie A with 16 points from nine games, seven points off the pace of early leaders Juventus.