The latest word stemming from Italy this weekend suggests that negotiations between AS Roma and Manchester United over Chris Smalling are on the verge of collapse.
English international Smalling has been on the books of Premier League giants United since 2010.
However, on the back of Harry Maguire’s big-money arrival from Leicester City last summer, Smalling was deemed surplus to requirements by Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
As such, following weeks of speculation, the 30-year-old departed Old Trafford for Serie A outfit AS Roma at the end of August.
Smalling made the move to the Stadio Olimpico on loan for the 2019/20 campaign.
Man United man impressing
And, after struggling for game-time over the early weeks of his stint in the Italian capital, Smalling has since gone on to establish himself as an integral member of the Giallorossi’s backline.
The stopper has notched starts in 28 of Roma’s 37 Serie A outings to this point in the campaign.
And, aside from a somewhat hit-and-miss patch of form earlier this year, Smalling has looked largely back to his best.
The 30-year-old’s positive impression at the Stadio Olimpico, meanwhile, has long seen reports in ciirculation that the Roma board have come to the decision to attempt to make Smalling’s transfer a permanent one.
The reliable Gianluca Di Marzio previously revealed that the defender had ‘convinced everyone’ at the club, and that the capital giants had begun ‘working towards redemption at the end of the season’.
Vertonghen to replace Smalling?
To this point, however, the one major stumbling block in Roma’s pursuit of a permanent deal for Smalling has remained Manchester United’s asking price.
Previous reports suggested that the Red Devils were demanding a fee of no less than £25 million for their out-of-favour stopper, the kind of figure which Roma simply could not afford to meet.
And, as outlined above, if the latest updates emerging from Italy over the last 24 hours are to be believed, then little progress appears to have been made during the latest round of negotiations.
As per the Corriere dello Sport (via Football-Italia), whilst United are no longer seeking out quite as large a fee, they are not prepared to drop their demands for Smalling below €20 million, plus a further 5 million in bonuses.
Roma’s offer, though, stands firm at €15 million.
As a result, talks between the clubs appear to be on the verge of a complete collapse.
And the Giallorossi have therefore begun seeking out cheaper alternatives to Smalling.
One such option, meanwhile, appears to come in the form of Jan Vertonghen.
Belgian stopper Vertonghen recently departed Tottenham following the expiration of his contract, meaning he is of course available as a free agent.
A potential contract for the 33-year-old is even touted, with Roma reportedly prepared to offer up a 2-year deal with the option for a 3rd, worth €3 million per season.
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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