Roma facing battle to keep loan star

AS Roma
Roma loan defender Chris Smalling is in demand.

AS Roma are keen to strike a permanent deal for Manchester United defender Chris Smalling but could face strong competition for his signature.

Smalling has been a revelation for Roma, who have jumped into the Champions League places in Serie A so far this season, and there is already talk of a permanent deal.

United are reported to have already rejected a £10million offer from Roma, with the Giallorossi now said to be planning an improved offer.

It remains to be seen if United will sell but Roma boss Paulo Fonseca says there is an eagerness in the Roma camp to get the deal done as soon as possible.

“Gianluca Petrachi [Roma sporting director] has been the first to propose to me about signing Chris Smalling [permanently],” he said.

“He told me we would have a chance to sign him. He is playing well. He is a great player and he is really important for us.”

Despite Roma being in the box seat to do a deal, there is also interest from elsewhere, with both Inter and AC Milan said to be interested.

The duo have been impressed by the way Smalling has adapted to life in Italy, and could offer him the chance of a switch to the San Siro instead.

However, it is claimed that Smalling would prefer to stay in Rome if he is told by United that he no longer has a future at Old Trafford.

United will assess the situation at the end of the season before making a decision.