Manchester United defender Chris Smalling completes loan switch to Roma

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has completed his season-long loan move to Roma.

Smalling, 29, was told by United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he could not be guaranteed regular first-team football this season despite signing a new deal in December.

Smalling’s deal at Roma ends in June 2020

Smalling’s deal at Roma ends in June 2020

Therefore, Smalling is set to spend the campaign at the Serie A club, who are understood to have paid £2.7million for his services.

He told Roma’s website: “This is the perfect opportunity for me. The chance to experience a new league, with a big team that has got big aspirations is exactly what I needed.”

Roma’s sporting director Gianluca Petrachi added: “We are pleased to bring a player like Chris, who has so much experience, to Roma.”

The centre-back joined United from Fulham in 2010 and will stay at Old Trafford until 2022 if he sees out the remainder of his contract there.

Smalling’s chances of playing in the United first-team went down after Harry Maguire joined

Smalling’s chances of playing in the United first-team went down after Harry Maguire joined

He was on the fringes of the Red Devils’ squad last season, making 34 appearances.

His chances of playing in the first-team decreased when United brought in Harry Maguire from Leicester City for £80m – a world record fee for a defender.

On Smalling, Solskjaer said: “This opportunity for Chris has come up in the last couple of days.

“We’ve got six fit centre-backs. I couldn’t promise him regular football.

“It’s a big club, a good league. There’s not many English players who have had the chance to play in Italy and I’m sure he’ll come back stronger and better for it.”

Roma have been on the lookout for a centre-back after selling Greece international Konstantinos Manolas to Napoli for £32m this summer.

Smalling is United’s fifth high-profile departure this summer, with Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez both going to Inter Milan.

Meanwhile, Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia left after their contracts expired.

Sanchez completed his season-long loan switch to Inter on Thursday

Sanchez completed his season-long loan switch to Inter on Thursday

On Sanchez’s loan move to Inter, Solskjaer said: “Alexis needed to go. He has been here for 18 months and it’s not really worked out for him.

“For him as well, to restart and get himself playing regularly, getting himself scoring goals, that loan will only benefit everyone in the end.

“We’re going to watch every weekend now to see Romelu and Alexis playing together. We had a decision to make and I’m trusting Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood to be our centre-forwards.”

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