Roma are reportedly lining up three alternatives to Chris Smalling after coming to a reluctant decision over a permanent transfer for the Manchester United defender.
A report in Calciomercato claims that the former England defender, who has been outstanding during his loan spell in the Italian capital, is set to return to Old Trafford.
The report details how the Giallorossi were keen to sign Smalling, but between the inactivity in the game and the confusing situation regarding the sale of the club, a permanent move now appears highly unlikely.
The Red Devils are said to have put a £25million price tag on the 30-year-old’s head, a fee that Roma feel is too high given the current economic climate.
That will come as good news for Arsenal, who have also been linked with a move for Smalling, but for Roma it means searching for cheaper alternatives.
And it would appear that one of those is veteran Tottenham centre-back Jan Vertonghen.
The Belgian’s contract with the north London club expires at the end of the season and there have been no signs of him landing the renewal that his international teammate Toby Alderweireld penned at Spurs.
His wages are reported to be similar to Smalling’s, so it would fit into Roma’s budget with ease.
Another player being considered by the Giallorossi is Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren, who has fallen down the pecking order at Anfield as is behind the likes of Joe Gomez and Joel Matip to partner Virgil Van Dijk.
Other targets include Arsenal’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Torino’s Nicolas Nkoulou and RB Leipzig’s Lukas Klostermann.
Greek star Sokratis is expected to be moved on as part of a major Gunners defensive revamp under Mikel Arteta this summer.
Man Utd to use Smalling funds to bid for Napoli star
With Smalling seemingly struggling for a future at Old Trafford, United are in the market for a new centre-back and it would appear that they are ready to go big for one of their top targets.
Indeed, the Red Devils have informed Napoli of their intention to launch a mammoth summer bid to sign Kalidou Koulibaly, which, according to reports in the Italian media, will finally convince hard-nosed president Aurelio De Laurentiis to cash in on his prized asset.
The Senegal international is one of the best defenders on the planet, and could be on his way out of Naples this summer, despite his contract lasting until 2023.
There has already been talk of a £75m agreement with French giants Paris Saint-Germain, which would give Koulibaly the chance to return to the country of his birth, while Everton have also been suggested as surprise suitors with the Toffees managed by his former coach in Naples, in Carlo Ancelotti.
However, United also continue to be linked with the powerful 28-year-old defensive rock, with the Red Devils having seen a world-record offer knocked back for the defender back in ahead of the January 2019 window.
And according to La Repubblica, it is now widely accepted that this summer will see a parting of ways between Koulibaly and Napoli, with the club finally ready to cash in after accepting the €6m a year salary package they handed him last summer is probably beyond their means with there being no guarantee of Champions League football next season. Read more…