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.
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.
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.