Over the last few years, Manchester United’s defence has often been a real problem. From Phil Jones’ antics to Eric Bailly’s injury problems. Suddenly, though, Old Trafford is a much happier place.
Clean-sheets are now becoming a regularity, led by Harry Maguire. Giving Slabhead the armband definitely feels like a bit of a masterstroke right now. Victor Lindelof is improving, Axel Tuanzebe is learning, while Bailly is seemingly getting back to his best.
Then you have Chris Smalling. For me, he has been United’s most consistent defender over the last few years. United loaning him to AS Roma always felt a bit harsh, particularly when Jones and Marcos Rojo remained at the club.
Nobody expected Smalling to make such an impact in Serie A. The Englishman was performing at a level amongst the league’s best before the coronavirus outbreak halted play. Understandably, AS Roma want to make the loan move permanent.
Well, the latest report from Il Tempo (Monday print), translated via Sport Witness, states that the European giant have had ‘at least three’ offers rejected by United for the 30-year-old, who state that there’s an £18m (€20m) asking price.
As of right now, talks are on standby and who knows when they’ll resume during this global pandemic?
One thing is for sure, though, Smalling’s up-turn in form is directly attributed to his brilliance over in Italy. Credit where it’s due as United now have a direct decision to make about his short-term future. That didn’t feel like an option at this time last year…