Paulo Fonseca wants Roma to retain Chris Smalling
According to Portuguese publication A Bola (h/t Mirror), Roma boss Paulo Fonseca wants Chris Smalling to remain at Roma.
The United loanee has gone on to enjoy a fresh breath of life in the Italian capital. He moved to Serie A on loan after falling down the pecking order at Old Trafford following the signing of Harry Maguire.
Smalling has played 21 of the 26 games so far in the Serie A and has established himself as a crucial member of the squad. He has firmly established himself as a fan favourite at the Stadio Olimpico and had earlier admitted to his interest in staying put.
Fonseca has high words of praise for the player, calling him unbeatable in one vs one scenarios. A centre-half himself, the Roma boss sure knows what he is talking about.
“He’s fast, nearly unbeatable in one-on-ones. He has a great ability to read the play and anticipate. He was very important for this club.”
The Roma boss also went on to praise the player’s intelligence and adaptability that helped him perform so well in a foreign league.
“If possible, I would like him to stay. He’s a great professional and person, it’s a pleasure to have him here with us.”
Roma will face competition for the player from both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. This will also depend on whether United want to sell the player or not.
A triumphant return
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had admitted in December that he would like to have the player back at Old Trafford. If Smalling does leave, he is expected to recoup around £25million. Not a bad fee for a player deemed surplus.
Smalling has spent almost a decade at United and has made 323 appearances while scoring 18 goals and four assists. He has won five major honours at Old Trafford and also won the Player’s Player of the Year Award in 2016.
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United will do well to keep the defender if we cannot bring in anyone else. Not only is Smalling an experienced defender but he is also someone from the SAF days who knows what the club is about.
We could recoup a decent fee for the 30-year-old or keep the player who has shown he has the skills to compete at the highest level. Either way, it’s a win-win.