chris smalling as roma

Smalling completes Roma return despite Man Utd defensive struggles

Chris Smalling has finally ended his association with Manchester United, returning to Italian side AS Roma in a €15 million deal.

Having joined Manchester United back in 2010, Smalling was one of the few remaining players at the club who had won the Premier League title, the defender winning it in 2011 and 2013.

The England international has also won the FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League during his time at Old Trafford, becoming a relative mainstay of the defence under Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, only to fall down the pecking order under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Having enjoyed an impressive spell in Roma last term, the Serie A side have finally struck a deal worth £13.6 million to see the 30-year-old return to the Italian capital on a three-year deal, a fee which could potentially rise to £18m.

In Smalling’s absence last season, Manchester United secured a third-place finish and had the third-best defensive record in the Premier League.

However, this season has started in wildly contrasting fashion, shipping 11 goals in their opening three league games, including six against Jose Mourinho’s Spurs on Sunday, with Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly having all come in for criticism for their performances so far this season.

Despite their defensive struggles, Manchester United have continued to focus on bringing in attacking reinforcements, with defensive replacements supposedly not on the club’s radar as we enter the final hours of the transfer window.

Solskjaer lauds Man Utd’s capture of ‘fighter’ and ‘winner’ Alex Telles from Porto

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