Manchester United have reportedly turned down a loan bid from Everton for Chris Smalling, with the transfer window set to slam shut on Thursday.
The Red Devils have yet to offload any defenders during the summer market, despite bringing in Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire from Crystal Palace and Leicester City respectively.
Phil Jones, Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo and Smalling all struggled to convince at the back for United last season, as the team slumped to a sixth-place Premier League finish while conceding a whopping 54 goals in total.
According to Sky Sports and Talk Sport broadcaster Jim White on Twitter, United have rejected a transfer approach from Premier League rivals Everton for Smalling on Wednesday.
— Jim White (@JimWhite) August 7, 2019
The Toffees enquired about signing the long-serving Old Trafford star on a season-long loan, but the Red Devils have decided to retain his services for the upcoming campaign.
Smalling’s position in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s starting XI is by no means secure at the moment, with Victor Lindelof now expected to serve as Maguire’s regular partner in the heart of the defence.
The Swedish centre-back’s potential shone through on a consistent basis last term and he has been tipped to become one of the best defenders in Europe in the coming years.
Maguire, meanwhile, will surely slot straight into Solskjaer’s line up after becoming the world’s most expensive defender, swapping the King Power Stadium for Old Trafford in a huge £80 million deal – as per BBC Sport.
Smalling featured in 24 Premier League matches for United in the 2018-19 campaign, but he may find his time on the pitch restricted in the wake of Maguire’s arrival.
Everton might have been the ideal place for the England international to rediscover his best form while playing regularly, but Solskjaer obviously wants to keep his whole squad intact ahead of Sunday’s season opener against Chelsea.