Chris Smalling will return to Manchester United this week as Roma refused to meet their valuation for the player.
The Italian side had been hoping to extend Smalling’s loan through the remainder of their Europa League campaign as they negotiated with United about a potential permanent transfer. The Red Devils however refused to extend the loan option without a permanent deal already being agreed and with Roma refusing to budge on their offer, the loan will come to an end now.
Smalling has enjoyed a great season in Serie A and has been rated by some as one of the better defenders in the league throughout the campaign, as Roma finished 5th in the league.
According to trusted Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, Manchester United were demanding a €3million loan fee with an obligation to buy set at €15million. Roma however weren’t willing to pay more than €12million for the permanent rights of the deal and therefore talks have stopped.
While that doesn’t rule out the possibility to Smalling returning to Rome next season if the club’s can strike a deal, the chances of him staying for the remainder of this campaign are incredibly slim with the squad list needing to be submitted by Monday afternoon.
With Smalling set to return to Old Trafford, the club will surely be looking at other potential options for him for the upcoming campaign. For a total fee of €18million (£16.2million), many teams in the Premier League could do worse than picking up the former Fulham man.
Aerially Smalling is dominant, while he’s very quick and also been hard to beat in one on one situations. His greatest flaw is his ability on the ball, which would likely rule out top clubs such as Arsenal and Chelsea who will be looking to improve their defence this summer.
A good option for him could be Everton, where Smalling would be the best defender at the club and could partner any of Michael Keane, Yerry Mina or Mason Holgate. Jose Mourinho could be tempted to reunite himself with Smalling, following their good relationship from their time together with the Red Devils. Another option could be Aston Villa, who survived relegation for a second season in the Premier League. With top flight football confirmed once again, they need to upgrade defensively and bringing in Smalling to partner Tyrone Mings at the back would be a big upgrade on quality.
The likelihood, in my opinion, of Roma not coming back in for him with a revised offer to make the deal permanent is low. Smalling has publicly stated already that he wants to stay Roma and with only €3million in difference between the offers it seems unlikely that a compromise won’t be reached.
If it can’t be done though, Smalling and Manchester United will surely not be short of alternatives for the upcoming season.