Man Utd could agree £20m transfer exit to help fund new Solskjaer signing – but not Sancho

Roma are confident of agreeing a £20million deal with Manchester United for Chris Smalling, which United chiefs will use to fund a move for a new centre-back, reports have claimed. Smalling spent last season on loan with Serie A giants Roma and was a hit for the Italian outfit, making 37 appearances and scoring three goals while also providing two assists.

Roma manager Paulo Fonseca wants to be reunited with the 30-year-old and is keen to bring the former Fulham centre-half to the club on a permanent basis.

The England international, who has 31 caps, is thought to be eager to secure a move having fallen out of favour at United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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He is currently training away from the Norwegian’s first-team squad at their Carrington headquarters as he looks to sort out his long-term future.

Smalling is under contract at United until 2022 and while Solskjaer sees no role for the defender, the Red Devils are playing hardball with Roma.

United want £25m for Smalling, although he will turn 31 in November, and rejected an initial bid of £15m from Roma.

But the Daily Star say Roma remain confident of reaching a compromise, with it claimed they have made it clear that the veteran defender remains their top summer target.

Roma are hopeful that an offer of £20m will be enough to entice Ed Woodard and co into doing business despite that bid still falling short of the asking price they have been quoted.

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Smalling has spent 10 years at Old Trafford but as they press on for more signings before October 5, United are surely likely to accept a lower offer in order to clear an unwanted player off their books.

The London-born defender has Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe and Tim Fosu-Mensah ahead of him in the pecking order, although United want to also offload Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones.

Should a deal be concluded for Smalling to head back to the Stadio Olimpico, the Star say United chiefs will hand the funds back to Solskjaer in order to sign a new centre-back in the final weeks of the window.

RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly are among those who have been heavily linked to United, as well as Milan Skriniar of Inter Milan.

And United will use the funds to sign a target in defence rather than throw them into a deal for Jadon Sancho, who they are struggling to negotiate an agreement for.

The 20-year-old England international has agreed a contract with United but the Premier League heavyweights are refusing to meet Borussia Dortmund’s asking price for the player.

Former Red Devils striker Dimitar Berbatov thinks a new centre-back would “complete” Solskjaer’s squad, on top of also bringing in top target £108m-rated Sancho.


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“I think Manchester United have a good squad, especially with the signing of Donny van de Beek,” Berbatov told the Daily Mail. “I think they need a centre back for sure. That completes the squad in my opinion.

“I know they are looking to buy a forward, the first one being Jadon Sancho. It’s taking forever, I don’t know if the deal is going to happen.

“Are they strong enough to challenge Manchester City or Liverpool? I wish that’s the case.

“They need to challenge these two teams, it’s going to be difficult, but nobody believed they could qualify for the Champions League last season.

“They bought Bruno Fernandes and he made a massive difference; we all saw that. Maybe if they bring in Sancho, they will repeat that scenario. That would be a good signing for the team for sure.”

Another potentially imminent exit is that of goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who could head back to former club Racing Club in his homeland of Argentina.

With Dean Henderson returning to United and signing a new long-term contract rather than returning on loan to Sheffield United, Romero is now third choice behind the Englishman and David de Gea.

The Star say Romero was particularly unhappy to lose his spot to the Spaniard in the FA Cup semi-final loss to Chelsea last season having played in all of the previous rounds until that point.

And Racing have opened the door for the 33-year-old to return to Argentina, having joined spent four years at the club, making his professional debut for them in 2006.

Spells with AZ Alkmaar, Sampdoria, Monaco and United have followed, having been in Manchester since 2015 and proven a dependable deputy to De Gea.

Premier League newcomers Leeds United have also been linked with Romero, who is under contract until 2021 with an option for an extra 21 months.

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