The Curious Case of Chris/Mike Smalling

Could Chris Smalling Make A Triumphant Return To Manchester United?
Image from Forbes
Manchester United face a curious summer transfer window ahead of themselves while the talk will be about Paul Pogba’s move if it happens or not but the club need to take some ruthless decisions if they have to get their winning mojo back. It has been reported  by various news outlets that Manchester United are ready to let go of Marcus Rojo and Phil Jones this summer and the decision seems logical.

Chris Smalling joined United from Fulham in 2010 for £10million and has made 323 appearances for the club, scoring 18 times. He is the only present member of the United squad who has won two Premier League titles and Smalling started in the victorious FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League final victories in 2016 and 2017.

Marcus Rojo is rash and injury prone and Manchester United failed to seal a deal for him with Everton and Rojo has returned back to his homeland playing for his boyhood club Estudiantes while Phil Jones has almost spent a decade here and still hasn’t convinced anyone of his abilities and has been incapable of keeping himself fit regularly either. During such times is it wise for Manchester United to let go off Chris Smalling who has been a rock for AS Roma this season?

If Rojo and Jones leave United in the summer, the CB department has Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Axel Tuanzebe and Eric Bailly who are pushing for first team spots. If Smalling returns he will have to wait in pecking order because Ole definitely prefers the duo of Lindelof and Maguire while on the other hand Smalling can very well stay in Italy as he is wanted by Roma on a permanent basis.
Analysing his Roma Tenure
Smalling joined Roma during  the end of August and he made his debut against Atalanta at the Stadio Olimpico and proceeded to become a leader at the heart of the Roma defence, even scoring goals invaluable wins over Udinese and Brescia. His performance has been so impressive that now a call up to England looks likely  as England Manager Gareth Southgate was seen at Rome watching Smalling in action. The 29-year-old is one of just two centre backs not to have been dribbled past in Serie A this season and has won 71% of his aerial duels.
Roma Manager Paulo Fonseca said:
I will do everything I can to keep him at Roma next year too,” he told ESPN. “I know he wants to stay, let’s see what happens. He’s an amazing man, so humble, so professional. He is adored by the fans and established himself as one of the leaders in the dressing room. It’s not easy for English central defenders to adapt so quickly to Italian football, the record there isn’t good. But he has been amazing.”
Should United Sell Smalling?
Yes, United would be better to cash in on Chris Smalling right now rather than lose him for free or with no suitors. It would be a win-win situation for Solskjaer and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to sell Smalling to Serie A clubs like Napoli or Roma who are interested to buy him. As his sale can get 10-15 million pounds and Solskjaer surely prefers new and younger players in his squad as he sets to steady the ship.
It would be a great step for Chris Smalling as well as he is close to 30 and Solskjaer is clearly building a team for future and instead of being someone who will be benched week on week basis, Smalling can explore Serie A and can fight for his place in England set up.
Use him in Player deal?
Napoli are interested in securing the services of Chris Smalling and United want to sign Kalidou Koulibaly. As reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport reportUnited are interested in Cash + Player deal for signing Napoli’s priced asset. Teams have been put off by Napoli’s £90million valuation but given the unrest at the club earlier this season – players and owner Aurelio de Laurentiis were involved in a civil war over a refusal to go to a training ground retreat – he may be sold to generate funds.
Koulibaly’s arrival will give United the flexibility to play back 3 with Lindelof and Maguire or back 2 with Maguire and Koulibaly forming a partnership.  Signing Koulibaly will solve Manchester United’s defensive woes to a certain extent and for that if Chris Smalling has to move the other way then it is a move which will be welcomed by United supporters as well as the board.

Author: TUD Author