Chris Smalling has arrived in Italy to complete his season-long move to Serie A giants, Roma, as Ole Gunner Solskjaer continues to get rid of the deadwood in his squad.
Despite initial reluctance from the 29-year old, Smalling agreed late on Thursday night to the season loan although As Roma has no plan to make the move permanent for the Englishman.
The centre back signed a new contract with United last December and had hoped to remain at Old Trafford to fight for his place. He has not figured in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad since the arrival of £80m signing Harry Maguire.
Explaining the decision, Solskjaer said: ‘It’s just come over the last couple of days, this opportunity,’ Solskjaer added. ‘We sat down yesterday and discussed it.
‘We’ve got six fit centre backs at the moment and I couldn’t promise him regular football. He’s on the plane over now and he’ll enjoy the experience there.
‘A big club and a big league. Not many Englishman has had a chance in Italy.
‘I can see maybe Matteo (Darmian leaving). There is interest over in Italy. Marcos (Rojo) is staying, definitely. We’ve got a squad now that’s less in numbers that are still big and strong enough to have cover in all positions.’
Smalling has not made the bench for any of United’s opening three games this season, with academy product Axel Tuanzebe preferred among the substitutes.
United has seven centre backs and saw a move from Everton for Marcos Rojo fall through earlier this month.
United full-back Matteo Darmian is also believed to have agreed on a deal to go on loan with Parma and should be able to complete the deal over the weekend.
Solskjaer will have six centre backs on the books, even with Smalling’s departure.
Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof are the first-choice pairings, with Tuanzebe and Phil Jones behind them. Eric Bailly remains sidelined with a knee injury.
Marcos Rojo expects to still be at United come Tuesday after Luke Shaw sustained a thigh problem that will keep him out for a month.
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Programs Manager at the Craft Silicon Foundation. He loves writing about sports, politics and news around the globe and Inspiring new young people!!