Man Utd defender Chris Smalling looks to be heading for the exit door at the end of the season, with reports claiming Jose Mourinho is ready to listen to offers.
The England international faces one last major test as he continues to battle it out with Phil Jones for a place in the starting line-up against Ajax in the Europa League final in Stockholm on Wednesday night.
However, as noted by ESPN FC, he’s fighting to recover from a toe injury in time and even that might not be enough as Mourinho considers him to be behind Jones in the pecking order, along with Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo when they’re available.
It’s not a good sign for Smalling, as he’s been publicly criticised by his manager on two separate occasions this season for what he saw as an unwillingness to push himself to recover from injury quickly enough to help out the team which was suffering with other absences.
Despite that, the 27-year-old has still made 35 appearances in all competitions this season and so it would still seem like a strange decision to just push him out when he has a role to play at Old Trafford.
Nevertheless, ESPN FC go on to suggest that with Mourinho targeting a summer swoop for Michael Keane from Burnley, and with Arsenal previously credited with an interest in Smalling, there could be some transfer activity this summer which results in a shake-up at the back for Man Utd.
Bailly is undoubtedly one of the first names on the team sheet when available, while Rojo impressed prior to his injury and Blind has seemingly won Mourinho over in recent weeks too.
However, beyond that, there is no long-term partner for Bailly, hence the links with Keane returning to United, and so the future really does look bleak for Smalling in Manchester.