Everton have entered the race to sign Manchester United defender Chris Smalling, currently on loan at Roma, for around €20m (£16.5m) according to reports in Italy.
According to Gazzetta Dello Sport (via Football Italia), the Toffees have contacted the England international‘s agent as they look to hijack the Giallorossi’s attempt to keep Smalling permanently at the Stadio Olimpico. The Englishman moved to the Italian capital during the summer on a season-long loan and has impressed with his consistent performances so far during the current campaign, helping Roma up to fifth in the Serie A standings.
After receiving waves of criticism last season, the 30-year-old believed that the best course of action would be to spend some time away from Old Trafford, despite penning a four-year extension to his contract in December 2018. Having been praised for his performances of late, this has seemingly caught the attention of Everton officials. With only three established central defenders at Goodison Park, the report from Gazzetta Dello Sport states that the Merseyside club are keen to take him off Manchester United’s hands.
Everton struggled defensively under Marco Silva but their fortunes have turned a corner since the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti as, other than Liverpool, they have claimed the most points over his first eight games in charge. Also, the performances of Michael Keane for club and country have raised questions as to whether he is good enough to play for the club going forward. Smalling topples Keane when it comes to composure on the ball, with an average of 49.8 passes per game and a pass success rate of 90.1%, in comparison to Keane’s 40.2 passes and 80.1% completion. Due to the Toffees defender’s poor form during the first half of the season, it could be time for the Blues to make a change and get an experienced centre-back for a cut-price deal.
If the Toffees manage to qualify for Europe next season, they will put themselves in a great position to do a deal with a £70-000-a-week man (as per Corrire dello Sport, via TBR Football). Considering the reported asking price of just €20m (£16.5m), he has proven Premier League experience with the Red Devils, so surely Ancelotti and Marcel Brands must consider a move for Smalling.
With Yerry Mina proving to be a crucial asset for the three-time Champions League-winning coach, he needs a strong a resolute partner that can lead from the back and from whom he could learn, as well as giving the midfielders more confidence. Although it would be short-term, Smalling could be a great addition for the club to build upon.
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