Giallorossi are reconsidering a permanent move for centre-back Chris Smalling after the Red Devils slapped a £25m price tag on the defender. England international joined Roma on loan last summer after a frank conversation with the Norwegian manager about his future following Harry Maguire’s addition from Leicester City.
Chris has impressed in the Italian capital, and Roma are keen on making his season-long loan deal a permanent one. However, the Italians were ‘shocked’ by Man United’s insistence that it will require a bid of £25m to sign Smalling next summer.
The Red Devils believe the 30-year-old centre-back’s reputation has been enhanced during his stay at Roma and believe that his status as a homegrown British footballer makes him even more valuable.
Louis van Gaal sanctioned Jonny Evans’ departure in 2015 for a measly £6m, and Man United have lived to rue the decision, with the likes of Gunners and Man City showing interest in the £35m-rated centre-back in recent years.
Giallorossi had hoped to sign the English defender for below £20m and had entered discussions with an £18m fee in mind, £5m of which would be paid in add-ons. But Red Devils seem intent on holding out for £25m and believe that there will be greater interest on the market for Chris should he come on the open market.
Chris would prefer to stay at Roma and believes his chances of a place in England’s squad for the Euro 2020 have been aided by his move to Italy, where he’s played 28 games. That would represent some turnaround for Chris, who was criticised by manager Gareth Southgate 18 months ago for his lack of ball-playing qualities.