Man United will allow Chris Smalling to leave after Victor Lindelof signing with Newcastle and Everton keen
Chris Smalling is set to leave Manchester United this summer after the £31m signing of Victor Lindelof from Benfica.
The England international centre-back has slipped down the pecking order at Old Trafford and is not optimistic about his future there.
Although Jose Mourinho has not yet explicitly told Smalling whether he is part of his plans for the 2017-18 season, he is expecting to be able to leave.
There is plenty of Premier League interest in Smalling, who has played at United for seven seasons and won two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, one League Cup and the Europa League. Everton, Newcastle United and West Ham United are at the front of the queue to sign the 27-year-old.
Smalling has two years left on the contract he signed at Old Trafford in 2015 and earns close to £100,000 per week. Those wages could prove to be a stumbling block for any potential buyer.
Although Smalling started 29 games for United last season, the likely centre-back partnership for next season will be Lindelof and Eric Bailly, who arrived from Villarreal in 2016. He did start the Europa League final in Stockholm on 24 May, but Mourinho joked with him beforehand that he could not be trusted to play the ball out from the back. “With your feet, we are for sure not playing out from the back,” Mourinho said to Smalling.
Smalling is one of a number of English centre-backs on the move this summer, with Michael Keane and Ben Gibson also expected to move. Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has targeted Ryan Shawcross of Stoke City as the man to build his defence around next season but Smalling would be a younger and quicker, albeit more expensive, alternative.