Roma have reportedly suffered a major injury blow as Man Utd loanee Chris Smalling could be sidelined by a knee injury until 2020.
The 30-year-old has established himself as a key figure for the Giallorossi since joining them on a season-long deal from United this past summer.
He’s made 14 appearances thus far, filling the void left behind by Kostas Manolas after his exit to join Napoli, while helping Roma secure the joint-second best defensive record in Serie A having conceded just 15 goals in 15 league games.
In turn, it will come as a huge setback for the Italian giants that Goal Italy have reported that the England international has sustained a knee injury which could now see him ruled out until 2020.
The report adds that a specific recovery timeline isn’t yet clear as Smalling will likely undergo further tests, but should that initial window be accurate, that would see him miss upcoming games against Wolfsberg, SPAL and Fiorentina prior to the winter break, with Roma returning to action on January 5 after that.
The news will no doubt make its way to Manchester too as Man Utd will have been monitoring his impressive form ahead of his possible return at the end of the season.
As noted by The Sun, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has noted that he expects Smalling to return next summer, and so the last thing that the Red Devils will want to see is an injury disrupt his form and force him to now miss playing time after making such an important impact to date.
It shouldn’t affect them too much as Smalling will have the second half of the campaign to win back his place in the starting line-up at the Stadio Olimpico and pick up from where he left off, but it’s no doubt an unwanted setback and time will tell just how long he is forced to sit out and watch on from the sidelines with a return in 2019 now seemingly unlikely.