August 1, 2020
Manchester United could well see more interest in central defender Chris Smalling this summer as it has been reported that Juventus, the Serie A champions, could offer United a tempting swap deal involving Federico Bernardeschi for the 30-year-old he was loaned to Serie A side AS Roma for the 2019/20 season. United have told Roma that they will need to pay £18 million to sign the English defender permanently and the player could be recalled back to Manchester before the end of next week.
United extended the loan spell of the defender to cover the remainder of the Serie A season plus the UEFA Europa League round of 16 match against Sevilla on Thursday evening with the loan spell ending on the 7 August, a day after the match. United will not extend the loan spell of the player to cover the latter stages of the Europa League this season, telling Roma that they will need to permanently sign the player to keep him the the remainder of the current season.
However, the club do not want to meet United’s valuation of the player. Reports on Friday suggested that Smalling had been told by Roma to tell United that he would not sign for another club if he was forced to leave Rome in the next week, although Smalling remained coy on that. He has been linked to Napoli and now Juventus so there is some interest in the player this summer and United should be using that to their advantage. That could get them exactly what they want this summer.
Calciomercato, reported by The Sun claim that with Roma uninterested in paying the £18 million to secure the future of Smalling has seen Juventus prick up their ears in this transfer scenario with the Serie A champions considering an offer involving Bernardeschi, 26, in a possible swap deal for Smalling. The Italian winger was earmarked as a possible fallback option if United failed to sign Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho this summer.
This season, Bernardeschi made a total of 36 appearances for his club, scoring two goals and two assists, which is not the type of form that would get him noticed as a player that should be on United’s radar. He can play as a winger on the left and right, as an attacking midfielder in a central position and as a central midfielder, so if United opt for this deal, he could have some use in the squad but would need to raise his game to fill the void that could be left with Sancho to arriving.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will know what he wants this summer. United should know what they want and understand that it is going to cost a lot to get this team working towards taking on the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City in order to challenge the the Premier League title and beyond next season. If United are not interested, they should use Juventus’ interest to their advantage which could make Roma pay up for Smalling. They will be running out to time for him to be allowed to play in the latter stages of the Europa League this season.
Written by John Walker