You’ve heard it all before, we know, but this time, Chris Smalling really really could finally be moving to AS Roma.
There have been so many false reports and jumped guns in this most protracted of transfer sagas that it has now become a case of ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ for most fans and also for people within the industry.
Smalling enjoyed a fantastic season on loan in the Eternal City in 2019/20 and the Italians have been trying to make the deal permanent since December 2019, when they started to negotiate with United.
Smalling and his family fell in love with the dolce vita and made it very clear they wanted to stay in Italy, but United have not wavered on their €20 million (£18m) valuation – with Roma struggling to get above €12-€13 for the most part.
Despite the 30-year-old’s return to the fold, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has not included him in any of his squads and has had him training alone as it has seemed clear that it was just a matter of time before he returned to Serie A.
And now, finally, according to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, Roma are submitting an improved bid of ‘more than €15 million’ (£13.68) – a bid that United surely must now accept and move on.
New bid from AS Roma for Chris Smalling is coming, confirmed.
The offer will be more than €15m and close to €20m Man Utd price tag – that’s why Roma are “confident” to complete the deal.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) September 30, 2020
Roma have also offered to take Diogo Dalot on loan as part of the deal but United are believed to be looking for a permanent deal for the Portuguese star.
Concluding the Smalling deal should allow the Red Devils to then complete their own deal for FC Porto left-back Alex Telles, in which the roles are reversed, with United bidding around €12-€13 million and Porto refusing to drop below €20 million.
Smalling will be the third United player heading for Italy this summer. Alexis Sanchez completed a free transfer to Inter Milan in June and paperwork for Andreas Pereira’s loan deal to Lazio was completed yesterday.
This summer’s transfer window has been one of the strangest in living memory. So cast your mind back to less stressful days and test your knowledge of past United arrivals and departures in our quiz below.