Roma are reconsidering a permanent move for defender Chris Smalling after Manchester United slapped a £25million price tag on the 30-year-old.
The former Fulham defender joined the Serie A club on loan last summer after a frank conversation with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer about his future following Harry Maguire’s arrival from Leicester.
Smalling has impressed in the Italian capital and Roma are keen on making his season-long loan deal a permanent one.
However, sources have told Metro.co.uk that the Italians were ‘shocked’ by United’s insistence that it will require a bid of £25m to sign Smalling next summer.
United believe Smalling’s reputation has been enhanced during his stay at the Stadio Olimpico and believe that his status as a homegrown British player makes him even more valuable.
Louis van Gaal sanctioned Jonny Evans’ departure in 2015 for a measly £6m and United have lived to rue the decision, with the likes of Arsenal and Man City showing interest in the £35m-rated defender in recent years.
Roma had hoped to sign the defender for below £20m and had entered discussions with an £18m fee in mind, £5m of which would be paid in add-ons.
But United seem intent on holding out for £25m and believe that there will be greater interest on the market for Smalling should he come on the open market.
Smalling would prefer to stay at Roma and believes his chances of a place in England’s squad for the European Championships have been aided by his move to Italy, where he’s made 28 appearances.
That would represent some turnaround for Smalling, who was criticised by manager Gareth Southgate 18 months ago for his lack of ball-playing qualities.
However, the Three Lions boss recently admitted he regretted those comments and says Smalling is in contention for a spot.
‘I’ve never ruled anybody out. I think that would be wrong,’ said Southgate.
‘I said I probably regretted the way the message [came over]. By praising others for certain attributes, there was criticism for Chris.
‘It was my fault and it was unfair on him. I think he’s done well in Italy. We’re watching everybody because we’ve got to make sure we make the right decision.
‘I spoke to him when I left him out the squad and explained what I explained to everybody. Of course, because of the way it came out, there was little point – I wasn’t going to say anything that hadn’t already been said.’
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