The never-ending saga of Chris Smalling’s exit from Man United took another twist yesterday as Inter Milan entered the fray with a potential swap deal for the player.
The 30-year-old had a successful season on loan at Serie A side Roma last term that resulted in the Italian side making several bids to try to secure his services on a permanent basis.
However, the two clubs have not been able to reach an agreement, with Roma’s bids falling approximately €5 million (£4.6m) short of the Red Devils’ €20 million valuation.
And whilst the deal is still not completely dead in the water, the Giallorossi’s need for Smalling is now not as great as they are poised to complete the signing of another centre-back, Marash Kumbulla from Verona, who is in Rome completing a medical ahead of a €30 million (£27.7m) transfer.
Enter Inter Milan, who according to calciomercato.it, are keen to take advantage of the Romans’ failure to land their man.
‘The Nerazzurri club remains vigilant on the English centre-back, who is still on the Giallorossi’s radar,’ they report before going on to suggest that Inter’s offer would be in the form of a swap deal, ‘exploiting the redundancy card’.
João Mario, Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic are the players listed as options for the exchange.
Of the three, the only option likely to be of interest to United is Perisic. The others are central midfielders, an area in which United have already strengthened this summer. They would also not represent an upgrade on existing options.
Perisic, on the other hand, could be an alternative for the right wing role should United’s bid for Jadon Sancho fail, as would appear to be the case.
It all seems highly speculative at this stage but it is clear that United intend to move Smalling on, having not included the player in the squad for the pre-season friendly at Aston Villa and having reportedly made him train away from the rest of the squad since his return from Italy.