Manchester United have placed a £25m price tag on the shoulders of Chris Smalling, according to reports – but the increase may be good news for Tottenham.
Smalling is currently thriving on a season-long loan at Roma, where he has made 28 appearances in all competitions and worked his way back into contention for an England call-up.
The Italian side are keen on signing him on a permanent basis at the end of the season, but their ability to do so is likely to hinge on whether they can qualify for the Champions League – which looks unlikely at present.
Several other clubs are waiting in the wings to pounce on Smalling if they do miss out, with Jose Mourinho keen to be reunited with the 30-year-old at Tottenham Hotspur.
And Spurs may be boosted by the news of United’s increased valuation for Smalling, given that it would make it even harder for Roma to purchase him outright.
According to the Metro, the Red Devils are now seeking a fee of £25m for the sale of Smalling, an increase of £5m on the price they were previously thought to be holding out for.
The report reveals that United have raised the price for two key reasons: the outstanding form he has produced in Italy this season, and the fact that he is a homegrown player.
It is warned that United chiefs are keen not to undersell Smalling, having seen Jonny Evans’ price tag multiply considering since letting him leave for just £6m in 2015.
Smalling will certainly be in demand due to his revived form, although he opened the door to a permanent switch to Roma recently.
“When I first came it was exciting but also daunting because you’re not sure what to expect,” he told Sky Sports.
“New country, new experience. But considering the way I’ve settled in, the love that I have felt, especially from the fans but everyone in Rome, it will be an interesting decision to make.
“Some of the other players said if you really hit the ground running, the love that you can have in this city is unbelievable.
“That’s really what I’ve felt and so have my family. Long may it continue.”
However, the news of the increased price tag may spell bad news for his wishes to continue in Rome, potentially giving Tottenham an opening.