Chris Smalling has critcised Manchester United for not giving him clarity on his future last year.
Smalling had been at United since 2010, but had fallen out of favour under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Therefore, they allowed him to join Roma on loan last season.
That spell in Italy was an overwhelming success. Smalling featured heavily for his new club, who instantly knew they wanted to keep him.
However, negotiations for a permanent transfer dragged out for months. The centre-back had to wait until the last day of the transfer window to seal his move.
It was a similar story last summer, when Smalling initially left United on loan. Roma had been focusing their attention on Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren, but swooped in for Smalling instead in late August, just as the transfer window was about to close.
Smalling wanted a guarantee of regular gametime, which he did not have at Old Trafford. He has now reflected on that time, admitting United did not handle it well.
“I knew that my days under Ole were pretty much numbered,” Smalling told The Telegraph. “I was just a bit frustrated.
“One, I would like to have been told earlier and then, secondly, I was only able to go with just a day left of the Italian window being open.
“The English window had shut. I was left in a very s*** situation. I had to decide. After I had that chat [with Solskjaer] it was a case [from him] of, ‘I’m not sure when your next game will be’.
“In an ideal situation I would have known early in the summer and made plans and it almost got to the stage where I had a day left.
“My wife had just had a kid as well. There was a lot going on that happened at the last minute.”
Smalling doubted permanent exit
If the original move to Roma was stressful for Smalling, then his wait for a permanent transfer was even more so.
After months of haggling over the price, United left it until deadline day to allow him to leave. The move was delayed so much that there were fears Roma had not been able to submit the necessary paperwork on time.
However, he could eventually breathe a sigh of relief, as his €15m move went through. Now, Smalling has admitted he was worried that he would not be able to secure the move.
“There was more than one occasion when I didn’t think it was going to happen,” he said. “Even in the week before.
“There were a couple of times when it was very close and it was pretty much off. It was probably 50-50 for quite a lot of it.
“We knew everything had gone through our side but then it hadn’t been ratified. It was probably for the next hour [after the Italian transfer window had closed] we were still waiting for that confirmation.”
Smalling’s start to life as a permanent Roma player has been disrupted by injury, after he spent pre-season training separately from the United squad.
He has made four appearances this season so far, three of which have been starts.
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