Chris Smalling: Manchester United defender is closer on a loan move to Roma

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is closing to a loan move to Serie A side Roma says boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Smalling, 29, joined Manchester United from Fulham in 2010 and extended his contract at Old Trafford to 2022 in December.

“This opportunity for Chris has come up in the last couple of days,” said Solskjaer on Friday.

He added on that he couldn’t promise him regular football. We’ve got six fit center-backs. I couldn’t promise him regular football.”

“Roma is a big club, a good league. There are not many English players who have had the chance to take part in Italy and I’m sure he’ll come back stronger and better for it.”

Roma sold Greece center-back Konstantinos Manolas to Napoli for £32m this summer.

Smalling made 34 appearances last season. But now he is on the fringes of the squad. With fellow England, defender Harry Maguire and  Victor Lindelof established as the first choice center-back partnership.

Solskjaer said Marcos Rojo, who has been linked with AC Milan, Marseille and Monaco.  He is “staying definitely”, along with fellow center-back Phil Jones, Eric Bailly, and Axel Tuanzebe.

“We’ve got a squad now that’s less in numbers but still big enough and strong enough to have coverage in all positions,” added Solskjaer. Who also confirmed Italian right-back Matteo Darmian is likely to be returning to his homeland.

Smalling is the fifth high-profile departure from United this summer. With Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez going to Inter Milan, and Antonio Valencia and Ander Herrera leaving after their contracts expired.

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