Monday 16 September 2019

Manchester United's Chris Smalling in loan move to Roma, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirms

Chris Smalling is on his way to Roma
Chris Smalling is on his way to Roma

PA Sport

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is on his way to Italy to finalise a loan move to Roma, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said.

Harry Maguire's record-breaking acquisition increased the number of centre-backs at United to seven and the 29-year-old has been allowed to leave.

Smalling, who signed a new deal until 2022 in December, is close to joining Roma on loan, with Solskjaer confirming he is en route to Italy to finalise the move.

"It's just come up the last couple of days, this opportunity for Chris," he said.

"Of course we sat down yesterday and discussed it. At the moment we've got six fit centre-backs. I couldn't promise Chris regular football.

"He's on the plane over now. I think he'll enjoy the experience over there.

"It's a big club, a good league. There's not many English players who have had the chance to play in Italy and I'm sure he'll come back stronger and better for it."

Solskjaer confirmed Matteo Darmian could follow Smalling out of the exit door, but Marcos Rojo will be staying put.

"I can see maybe Matteo (leaving)," he said.

"There has been some interest in Matteo over in Italy, wanting to go back home.

"Marcos, he's staying definitely. We've got a squad now that's less in numbers, but still big enough and strong enough to have coverage in all positions."

Alexis Sanchez was allowed to leave Old Trafford on Thursday, joining Inter Milan on loan for the rest of the season.

Expectations were high when the 30-year-old arrived from Arsenal in January 2018, but the forward failed to show his quality at Old Trafford.

"I think Alexis needed to go," Solskjaer said.

"Because at the moment we know he has been here now for 18 months and it's not really worked out for him.

"For him as well to restart and get himself playing regularly, getting himself scoring goals, that loan will benefit everyone in the end.

"For us, we're going to watch every weekend now to see Romelu (Lukaku) and Alexis playing together."

PA Media

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