Smalling completes loan move to Roma

Manchester United defender to spend the season with Serie A club.

By Press Association Published: 30 August 2019 - 7.37pm

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has joined Roma on loan, the Italian club have announced.

The 29-year-old, who signed a new deal until 2022 in December, was told by United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he could not guarantee him regular first-team football this season.

Therefore, Smalling is set to spend the campaign at the Serie A club.

“This is the perfect opportunity for me,” he told Roma’s website. “The chance to experience a new league, with a big team that has got big aspirations is exactly what I needed.”

Harry Maguire’s record-breaking acquisition this summer increased the number of senior centre-backs at Old Trafford to seven, although Eric Bailly is currently laid low by injury.

Solskjaer had earlier said: “It’s just come up the last couple of days, this opportunity for Chris.

Arsenal v Manchester United – Premier League – Emirates Stadium
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thinks playing in Italy will be a good experience for Chris Smalling (PA)

“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.

“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.”

Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez have already left United for Italy this summer by joining Inter Milan, while Matteo Darmian also looks set for a move to Serie A.

However, Marcus Rojo, subject of an enquiry from Everton earlier in the month, will be staying at Old Trafford.

Manchester United v Arsenal – Premier League – Old Trafford
Marcos Rojo will not be leaving United yet, says Solskjaer (PA)

“I can see maybe Matteo (leaving),” Solskjaer 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.”