Sometimes it’s never completely clear if a player is being loaned out in the hope it will lead to a permanent transfer, or if his parent club hope it improves them and they get a better player on their return.
Chris Smalling will turn 30 next month so many might think he’s too old for his loan spell at Roma to be seen as a developmental experience. A recent report from Gianluca Di Marzio even indicated that Roma wanted to keep him permanently and were looking to open negotiations over a deal.
Many might have though we wouldn’t see him in a Man United shirt again, but that might not be the case.
A recent report from The Mirror has stated that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still keeps in regular contact with the defender and it might even be the case that Smalling still sees himself back in Manchester next year.
The Mirror report featured some quotes from an interview Smalling did with The Athletic.
He mostly talks about keeping in touch with the manager and how Serie A suits his style, but one quote was particularity revealing in terms of his future. He said: “I think I’ll be a better player when I go back to Manchester next May.”
It will be interesting to see how he plays if he does come back. A lot of reports from Italy suggest he’s playing better because Roma task him with purely focusing on defending. His biggest weakness at United was his ability on the ball and trying to pass the ball out from the back.
If he could be paired with someone who can pass the ball, then his aggressive style of defending could be the perfect compliment.