Chris Smalling will stay at Manchester United beyond today’s transfer deadline.

According to the BBC – on their transfer liveblog at 11:52am on 05/10 – his expected move to Roma hasn’t materialised.

Smalling spent last season on loan in the Italian capital and it was expected that he would return on a permanent basis this summer.

But as the hours tick away, he apparently looks set to stay.

Manchester United Training Session
Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

The report says Smalling has been training on his own since the start of pre-season, that’s how sure his exit looked.

TeamTalk ran quotes last month from Roma boss Paulo Fonseca, who said Smalling had personally told him he wanted to return to the Serie A club.

It is staggering that a player who looked so close to the exit door is now reportedly going to remain at Old Trafford.

Chris Smalling of AS Roma looks on during the Serie A
Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

Outgoings are vitally important at Old Trafford this summer. They need to trim the wage bill, get a bloated squad down to size and balance the books.

This Smalling deal was as close to an open goal as it is possible to get; a player who wants to go, to a club and manager he knows – and United have still botched the job.

Can Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reintegrate Smalling? It’ll be hard, given how many centre-backs he has and the fact the Englishman hasn’t trained with his team-mates all pre-season.

Plenty will be made of United’s incoming business today, but if Smalling really doesn’t leave, that sums up the incompetence behind the scenes at Old Trafford.

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