Chris Smalling is set for a return to Manchester United, with Roma yet to reach an agreement with the club over extending his loan for the conclusion of the Europa League.
The Englishman shone for the Giallorossi in Serie A last term as he struck a fine relationship with Gianluca Mancini at the heart of Paulo Fonseca’s defence – with Roma finishing fifth in the table following their 3-1 victory over champions Juventus on Saturday night to round off the campaign.
He’s been a key spoke in Fonseca’s wheel but time is running out for the Italian club to register Smalling for the remainder of their European venture. They have until Monday night, with any potential agreement said to be way off.
The original loan deal that took Smalling to Roma for the season was extended to cover the end of the Serie A campaign, but it was never going to be extended again to take in the conclusion of the Europa League this month.
Roma though, could potentially buy Smalling outright or agree to another longer-term loan with United as a potential solution. Although time isn’t on their side.
The Giallorossi’s sporting director Gianluca Pertrachi has already confirmed the club are keen to keep Smalling on their books for the long haul, along with former Red Devil Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
“The numbers don’t lie, they have been two successful loans,” Pertrachi told Sky Sports in Italy last month (via Manchester Evening News).
“We, unfortunately, lost Mkhitaryan for a physical problem for a little bit, but he’s very comfortable here just like Smalling. We’ll do everything we can to keep them, especially since they want to stay here. We’ll find out in the future if we are able to or not, but I feel the players are on my side.”
If Smalling does return – as expected – to United before August’s Europa League finale, he isn’t eligible to be registered in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad for the competition after appearing seven times for Roma already.