Chris Smalling’s agent James Featherstone has put a private plane on standby to fly to Italy today and it looks to have proven inspired with the defender edging closer to a return to Italy.
The Manchester United defender spent the day awaiting news of whether Roma and the Old Trafford club had reached accord on his transfer and by early evening an £18million deal, including add-ons, had been agreed.
Despite hype from Italy regarding agreement on a £12.5m fee being close, there was still plenty of negotiating required to meet United’s valuation and the Italians eventually raised their offer to bring Smalling back to Rome.
Chris Smalling’s agent James Featherstone has put a private jet on standby to fly to Italy today
The Manchester United defender has edged closer to the exit with the clubs agreeing a deal
Smalling has cut a frustrated figure around Carrington in recent weeks and many would argue, on the back of Sunday’s performance against Tottenham, that he could still make a telling contribution to the first team.
The 30-year-old impressed on loan at Roma last season and, after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer failed to include him in his first-team plans this summer, made it clear he would prefer to return to Serie A where he can play regularly.
Smalling turns 31 next month and is under contract until 2022. He was forced out by Solskjaer last year when it became apparent he would not figure following Harry Maguire’s signing and despite raised hopes ahead of this season, the picture remains the same.
The 30-year-old impressed on loan at Roma last season and wants to return to Serie A
Despite having Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones on their books, they want to add another centre back, albeit next year. Yet they are struggling to offload some of those players to make room and Roma’s interest in Smalling remains the best chance of recouping substantial funds.
Smalling has been at United for 10 years and staff have been impressed by his professionalism as he continued to train twice a day, often on his own, up until last week.
Fevered speculation from Italian media over his deal being close to conclusion has merely added to the angst as he awaited news.
His representative Featherstone made necessary provisions for today by provisionally booking a plane to fly to Rome but with the Italian deadline closing at 7pm, time has been against them.
Smalling has cut a frustrated figure around Carrington having been at the club for 10 years