LONDON. — Arsenal have made an offer to sign Manchester United defender Chris Smalling in the summer transfer window, according to reports in Italy.
Smalling (30) was deemed surplus to requirements by United head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last summer and the centre-back completed a season-long loan move to Roma as he looked to get his career back on track.
The England international’s impressive performances in the Italian Serie A have endeared him to supporters at the Stadio Olimpico and Roma are interested in making his deal permanent at the end of the 2019/20 campaign.
However, Roma are likely to come up against stiff competition for Smalling’s signature, with Tottenham, Leicester, Everton and Arsenal all ready to test United’s resolve for the ex-Fulham man.
Corriere dello Sport claims United already have an offer on the table from Arsenal for Smalling and the north London club have ‘asked for information’ regarding a potential summer deal. The report suggests that the coronavirus pandemic has made a return to England a ‘‘concrete option’’ for Smalling considering the distance between him and close family members.
Arsenal have already signed young Saint-Etienne centre-back William Saliba — who will arrive at the Emirates this summer — but Mikel Arteta is determined to add another defender to his squad over the coming months which has seen Smalling emerge as a serious target.
Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano and Frankfurt’s Evan N’Dicka are also firmly on the Gunners’ radar.
Metro.co.uk understands that United are demanding a fee of at least £25 million for Smalling which has ‘shocked’ Roma. The Italian giants had hoped to secure a permanent deal with a bid of around £20m after initially enquiring over an £18m fee for the central defender.
Arsenal are also confident they can ensure on-loan Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos stays at the club if the Premier League season goes beyond June 30, according to reports.
The coronavirus outbreak has postponed all league matches until at least April 30, creating a dilemma for all players with contracts due to expire in the summer.
The Evening Standard report that the Gunners are confident they can strike a deal with the Spanish giants to keep the 23-year-old in north London if the season continues into July. — Metro.
Top-flight clubs are due to discuss plans moving forward for the rest of the season in a meeting at the start of April. The hope is the action can resume in mid-May, with a view of completing the domestic campaign before June 30. All remaining games are expected to be played behind closed doors to try and ensure all players are protected from further infection.
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