Thursday 23 November 2017

Chris Smalling nears Man United exit as two Premier League clubs prepare bids

MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - MARCH 19: Chris Smalling of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Manchester United at Riverside Stadium on March 19, 2017 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - MARCH 19: Chris Smalling of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Manchester United at Riverside Stadium on March 19, 2017 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Jack Austin

Chris Smalling could be set to leave Manchester United this summer as Jose Mourinho looks to strengthen his injury-hit defence ahead of next season.

Marcos Rojo, Eric Bailly and Daley Blind have all overtaken the England centre-back in the pecking order at United this season and Smalling missed the club’s final game of the season against Crystal Palace with a toe injury.

And that has left Smalling battling it out with Phil Jones for the right to start alongside Blind in the Europa League final in Stockholm on Wednesday night.

The Sun report that both West Ham and West Brom are keen to capitalise on the uncertainty surrounding his future this summer by making a move for the centre-back.

Slaven Bilic is keen to reshape his defence and is also close to signing City right-back Pablo Zabaleta, while Tony Pulis would like to reunite Smalling with former teammate Jonny Evans.

The 27-year-old was United’s player of the year last season but has struggled to establish himself under Mourinho, with the Portuguese criticising him for being “too cautious” and unwilling to play through the pain barrier on occasions this season.

Smalling’s departure would allow United to move for their former centre-back Michael Keane, who has impressed at Burnley this season.

(© Independent News Service)

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