United demand Roma double their first bid for Smalling

AS Roma
Roma loan defender Chris Smalling is in demand.

Manchester United have told Roma they want almost double their initial offer of 10m euros to sign loan star Chris Smalling on a permanent basis.

Roma officials flew to England on Wednesday to open negotiations over making Smalling’s stay in the Italian capital a longer experience than just a season-long loan.

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera report Roma offered the Red Devils 10m euros to make the deal permanent but that the Premier League club asked for almost double that figure.

Having spent £80m on Harry Maguire over the summer, United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward knows the market value of central defenders in the modern game and Smalling has certainly impressed since he made his Serie A debut in September.

Roma have kept three clean sheets in his six starts and the England international even weighed in with his first goal for the club during their 4-0 win at Udinese in midweek.

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Smalling himself has given mixed messages about his intentions, with his comments about always wanting to play abroad interpreted as a positive sign for a Serie A transfer.

He is renting an apartment close to Roma’s training HQ and his Cheshire home is currently up for sale, suggesting he is open to ending his nine-year association with United.

But this week he changed his tune slightly and spoke of being “a better player when I go back to Manchester next May.”

This could be just pragmatic talk as Smalling knows there are plenty of hurdles to cross before his future is truly established, with the two clubs wide apart over his valuation.

Roma sporting director Gianluca Petrachi knows his value to Paulo Fonseca’s side. Without Smalling in the first four Serie A matches of the campaign, the Giallorossi conceded seven goals but only four in their next six with the Englishman in the XI.

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