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Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 21 April 2021

Man United defender Smalling completes Roma loan move

The 29-year-old centre-back will spend the season in Serie A.

Smalling has completed his move.
Smalling has completed his move.
Image: AS Roma

Updated at 21.17

MANCHESTER UNITED DEFENDER Chris Smalling has signed a year-long loan deal with Roma for €3 million, the Serie A club confirmed on Friday.

“This is the perfect opportunity for me,” said the 29-year-old England centre-back.

“The chance to experience a new league, with a big team that has got big aspirations is exactly what I needed.

“Hopefully I can hit the ground running. I’m looking forward to joining up with my teammates.”

Smalling, who has 31 caps for England, made 323 appearances for United during nine years at Old Trafford, winning the Premier League twice.

But he has fallen out of favour, with the club signing Harry Maguire for £80 million (€90 million) from Leicester.

“Chris fancied the chance to go over there; it’s a new experience, new adventure,” said United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

He’ll come back better for it because it’s a big club, it’s a good league.

“At the moment we’ve got six centre-backs and it’s just something that popped up towards the end (of the European transfer window) in the last couple of days.”

Smalling joined United from Fulham in 2010 and extended his contract until 2022 last December.

“There aren’t too many English players who have been playing in Italy so I think he’ll enjoy it,” added Solskjaer.

Roma have been short at the back since Greek centre-back Kostas Manolas left for Napoli last month for a reported fee of €36 million.

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The capital side conceded three goals in a thrilling draw at Genoa in their season opener and play fierce city rivals Lazio on Sunday.

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

We are convinced he will help the growth of this squad and all the lads he plays alongside.”

Smalling — who made 34 appearances for United last season — becomes their second player on loan in Italy after Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez moved to Inter Milan on Thursday.

© – AFP 2019

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