Chris Smalling Set for Last Roma Game as Return to Manchester United Beckons

Chris Smalling is expected to return to Manchester United
Chris Smalling is expected to return to Manchester United | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Chris Smalling is expected to return to Manchester United after AS Roma's final Serie A game of the 2019/20 season this weekend, according to reports in Italy.

The 30-year-old has made 36 appearances for the club since joining on a season-long loan in August and has impressed under Paulo Fonseca with his commanding displays at the back.

As a result, the capital side have been in talks with the Red Devils over a permanent transfer, with the Portuguese coach saying in February that he would 'do everything he could' to keep Smalling in Italy.

Yet, according to Sky Sports journalist Angelo Mangiante, it looks like the Englishman will not be extending his time in Rome, with the two negotiating clubs still some way apart on the player's value.

It is said that the Premier League side - who are keen to sell - want at least €20m (£18m) for the 30-year-old's services.

By contrast, the Giallorossi are only willing to pay €15m (£13.5m), and with talks not progressing, it now appears that Smalling will play his final game for his loan club on Saturday, in the clash with champions Juventus.

The Serie A outfit were hoping that Smalling would be allowed to play in the Europa League for them, which resumes in early August. Yet United have made it clear that they would not consider extending his loan deal, preferring that a permanent transfer is arranged instead.

Chris Smalling
Chris Smalling's departure will be a blow for Roma | Silvia Lore/Getty Images

It will be hugely disappointing for Roma to lose the 30-year-old, given he has built a great partnership with Gianluca Mancini at the heart of their defence. His physicality and no-nonsense tackling has made him an instant hit in Italy, while he himself commented in February how he's enjoyed his time away from England.

Though he will likely return to United soon, it appears that Smalling's future lies elsewhere, with Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur having been previously linked with the centre-back's signature.

United currently have seven first-team centre backs on their books, with Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo also likely to be moved on in the transfer window along with Smalling, if possible.