Manchester United ‘willing to let Chris Smalling leave for Roma permanently if they sign Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli as replacement’
- Chris Smalling plays on loan at AS Roma from Manchester United
- United is reportedly ready to let him leave ‘if they can sign Kalidou Koulibaly’
- 28-year-old Koulibaly is a star in Naples and has long been a target for English clubs
Manchester United are reportedly willing to allow Chris Smalling to provide his loan to Roma permanently, provided they can sign Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.
Smalling has had a rebirth since he left England for Italy this season and Roma would love to keep him with the club after June when his loan deal at the club ends.
La Gazzetta dello Sport report that their hopes for that event rests on whether United boss Ole Gunnar can lure Solskjaer Koulibaly to Old Trafford.
Chris Smalling (left) may need a Serie A rival to leave Old Trafford to stay with Roma
United is credited with interest in Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly to replace Smalling
28-year-old Koulibaly has often been associated with moves to the Premier League in recent seasons, but has remained loyal in Naples.
Teams have been put off by Napoli’s £ 90 million valuation, but given the turmoil at the club earlier this season – players and owner Aurelio de Laurentiis were involved in a civil war over the refusal to go to a training ground – he can be sold to generate funds.
He would arrive as a partner for Harry Maguire, who has established himself as a captain of United from Leicester City since last summer for a record £ 80 million and will fill the void of Smalling.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tries to improve the side because he wants to put them in the title fight
Solskjaer currently has Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe as center backs, with both Smalling and Marcos Rojo on loan.
Rojo is likely to leave as part of a further commotion by Solskjaer and questions remain about both Jones and Bailly, the latter mainly surrounding his condition.
Maguire and Lindelof have been the preferred combination lately, but a move for Koulibaly would signify United’s commitment to closing the gap between Liverpool and Manchester City in the Premier League.
Smalling has yet to make a decision about his long-term future, but is said to have settled in the Italian capital with his wife Samantha.
He stayed in Rome during the coronavirus lockout and hopes to close the campaign at a peak as soon as it resumes. Roma, like United, made the last 16 of the Europa League and are fifth in the Serie A table.
Smalling made an impression in Italy and is said to have revived in the Italian capital Rome