Chris Smalling is closing in on a permanent move away from Manchester United, according to widespread reports.
Smalling spent last season on loan at Roma, where he thoroughly impressed. The defender made 30 appearances in Serie A, scoring three goals and adding two assists.
Roma are keen to keep him, but have found it difficult to meet the asking price. However, Smalling has been pushing for a permanent move to Italy – rejecting other Premier League offers in the process – and the negotiations appear to have reached a breakthrough.
As noted by the Telegraph, the defender is not taking part in training with Man Utd, which could be a possible hint that his exit is close.
According to Gazzetta Dello Sport, Smalling’s future could be resolved by the end of the week. The two clubs seem to have found a compromise.
United were holding out for a fee in the region of €20m for Smalling. However, they have now softened their stance, with Roma offering around €12m.
Gazzetta claim that the deal is now approaching its final hurdles, meaning Smalling could return to the Italian capital by the end of the week.
It would bring an end to his decade-long stay at Old Trafford. The 30-year-old has made 323 appearances for United and scored 18 goals.
Van Gaal praises Smalling
The reason Smalling left United in the first place was because Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could not guarantee him regular gametime.
That was less of a problem for the centre-back when Louis van Gaal was in charge at Old Trafford, though. Smalling enjoyed some of his best years under the Dutchman, winning the club’s award for the Player’s Player of the Year in 2015-16.
And speaking to Tuttomercatoweb, van Gaal has revealed just how important Smalling was to him.
“I worked with him, I can judge him,” van Gaal said. “Great man, great professional. When he wasn’t injured, he always played.”