By Brian Bariyo Tumuramye
Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is close to joining Roma on a season-long loan for a €3m (£2.7m) fee, according to reports.
The 29-year-old visited United’s headquarters on Thursday to define his exit and is expected to fly to Italy in the evening to undergo a medical.
Talks between the two clubs started on Tuesday with United initially requesting €20m (£18m) between a loan fee and option to buy, but eventually decided to opt for a one-year loan to avoid long bureaucratic matters that could have scuppered the move.
The defender was omitted from United’s squads for their first three Premier League fixtures, including their 4-0 win against Chelsea and their 1-2 defeat to Crystal Palace.
Roma are keen on bringing in an experienced centre-back after seeing efforts to land Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld, Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren and Juventus’ Daniele Rugani failing to materialise this summer.
The Serie A giants have seen stalwart Kostas Manolas leave for Napoli for €36m this summer but need more cover after bringing in Italy Under-21 defender Gianluca Mancini from Atalanta for €20m.
Smalling is currently United’s longest-serving player following his £7m move from Fulham in 2010 and was a regular following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s interim appointment last December.
However, he has fallen down the pecking order at the club following the world-record move that brought Harry Maguire to Old Trafford.
European clubs will be able to sign players until Monday September 2, with Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, Germany’s Bundesliga and France’s Ligue 1 closing their business at varying times in the day.