Man Utd chiefs' decision upsets Roma as permanent Chris Smalling transfer left in doubt



Posted Sunday, February 09, 2020 by Express.co.uk

Manchester United have left Roma taken aback by demanding a £17m permanent transfer fee for Chris Smalling.

Roma are upset that Manchester United have increased their asking price for former England central defender Chris Smalling. Smalling has been on loan in the Italian capital all season and has made a big impression with Roma wanting him to stay permanently.

They had been hoping to seal a deal for around £12m, but United have now said that they want £17m for the ex-Fulham man in a substantial price hike.

Smalling who has won 31 England caps wants to stay in Italy and Roma had hoped that they might be able to get United to reduce the fee.

Instead, they have been stunned to find out that Ed Woodward and co. have raised their asking price by £5m and they are struggling to find the extra money.

Man Utd chiefs' decision upsets Roma as permanent Chris Smalling transfer left in doubt
Man Utd chiefs' decision upsets Roma as permanent Chris Smalling transfer left in doubt (Image: GETTY)

Roma insist that they will only be able to turn the loan into a permanent arrangement if they qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Smalling has made it clear that he wants to end his nine-year stay at Old Trafford after settling into Italian life.

The 30-year-old already agreed to keep his current deal, worth around £58,000 a week, to push the switch through rather than holding out for better terms.

In November, Smalling admitted he is loving life at the Stadio Olimpico, despite missing United as he’d become “part of the furniture”.

"I’m starting to pick up things the manager is saying in Italian, and even with the players I’m lucky as quite a few of them speak English,” Smalling said.

"I’m definitely picking up a lot of football phrases and a lot of basic phrases that are helping me interact with the team on and off the pitch.

"I am feeling very settled; my family is over here and the dogs are over here, so everyone is settled. When my family are happy and I am happy it shows on the pitch.

Man Utd chiefs' decision upsets Roma as permanent Chris Smalling transfer left in doubt
Man Utd chiefs' decision upsets Roma as permanent Chris Smalling transfer left in doubt (Image: GETTY)

"The manager’s targets are not just about getting back in the Champions League—it is about winning something. That is where my full focus is, and come the end of the season when we’ve won something and achieved something we can see where it goes. Right now it is all about focus on the pitch."

Legendary Italian defender Franco Baresi recently hailed Smalling’s application as he attempts to kickstart his career in Serie A.

"At Milan, I was a team-mate of Ray Wilkins and Mark Hateley but I think it is easier when you come to this country and are playing in midfield or attack,” Baresi told The Sun.

"Smalling’s not my favourite defender in Serie A but I like his determination to try to improve. Before he came, I didn’t know too much about Smalling.

"I was not sure an English defender could get used to Italian football as it is so different to the Premier League. Smalling’s attitude and approach has been good. But I think we have to wait until the end of the season to make any judgements.”

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