Roma abandon Man Utd defender, as they close on loan deal for Spurs target
Roma are set to pull the plug on a deal for Chris Smalling and are close to sealing a transfer for Marash Kumbulla, claims a report.
The Serie A club have been in talks with Manchester United for Smalling, but as yet the two parties are yet to agree a fee for the centre-back.
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. United were holding out for a fee in the region of €20m for Smalling with Roma offering around €12m.
Smalling has been pushing for a permanent move to Italy – rejecting other Premier League offers in the process.
However, the breakthrough that had been expected to come has yet to materialise and Roma have switched their attention elsewhere.
Football Italia report that Roma “are ready to drop talks with Manchester United for Chris Smalling” as they close in on Hellas Verona defender Kumbulla.
According to Sky Sport Italia, Roma have struck a deal quickly with Verona, which will mean a loan with obligation to buy, worth a total of €30m.
United rejected the latest offer for Smalling and Roma lost patience, and instead moved for the 20-year-old Kumbulla.
Reports in May claimed that Tottenham had identified Kumbulla as a potential replacement for Jan Vertonghen, who subsequently left the club for Benfica.
Spurs track defender
More recently, an update from L’Arena confirms Spurs are still in the hunt for Kumbulla. The Italian outlet warns Serie A suitors to “watch out” for Jose Mourinho.
The Spurs boss is interested in the Albanian centre-back, although Tottenham are yet to make a formal offer.
Inter, Lazio and Napoli were the Italian suitors for the player, with Inter believed to have agreed a deal with the player.
The club decided to step away from that though as they would not be able to guarantee Kumbulla first-team football.
Kumbulla, an Albania international, made 25 appearances and scored one goal in his debut season in Serie A after progressing through Verona’s youth ranks.