Chris Smalling is expected to leave Manchester United this summer following the arrival of SL Benfica’s Victor Lindelof.
The Independent reports that West Ham, Newcastle and Everton are all interested in a potential move to sign him and although Mourinho hasn’t told him he isn’t part of his plans, the consensus is that Smalling will be free to leave if he wants to.
Smalling, 27, fell massively out of favour at Man United last year under Jose Mourinho and struggled to hold down a place in the team. Although he played very well in the Europa League final, it looks like that wasn’t enough for him to keep his place in the squad next year.
In my opinion, that’s the right thing to do. When Smalling was named our Players’ Player of the Year in Louis van Gaal‘s last season, he was fantastic but there were real question marks over whether van Gaal’s defensive style of play made him look far better than he was. After his performances this year, I think some fans were right to reserve judgement.
On paper I feel Smalling is the weakest centre-back and we’ve got genuine options now without him in the mix, so it would be right for United and for Smalling if he left the club and went on to pastures new. Like Jonny Evans, Wes Brown and John O’Shea before him, he’d have a decent career elsewhere.
The time feels right for Smalling who is now 27 because he isn’t going to get any better and we need a ball playing centre-back alongside Eric Bailly, something which he couldn’t be further away from, and if we’re going to continue moving forward as a club under Mourinho we need to make sure the players in the squad match the ambition. Unfortunately for Smalling, that more than likely means he’ll be on his way out.