Transfer Roma sign Smalling on loan from Man. United

AS Roma have signed England defender Chris Smalling on a season-long loan from Manchester United.

The 29-year-old flew to the Italian capital on Friday to undergo a medical and finalise the move.

The Italian side will pay a €3 million (£2.7m/$3.2m) loan fee for Smalling, who has been handed the No. 6 shirt by the Giallorossi.

He will seemingly replace Kostas Manolas in the heart of the Roma defence after the Greek international joined Napoli earlier this summer.

“This is the perfect opportunity for me,” Smalling told Roma’s website.

“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.”

Speaking on Twitter, Smalling added: “Manchester – the club, the people, the city, has always held a special place in my heart but I still have as much desire to play regular first-team football as I did when I joined the club over nine years ago.

“AS Roma is a fantastic club, with a lot of history and I’m relishing the new challenge they have offered me.

“I’m excited to experience a new league, experience the culture and get really stuck in to support Roma’s domestic and European ambitions.”

Smalling has spent nearly a decade at United, making 323 appearances for the club since joining from Fulham in the summer of 2010.

However, the arrival of Harry Maguire from Leicester for £80 million ($97m) earlier this month increased competition for places in the United defence, with Smalling yet to feature at all so far this season.

With the likes of Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo also competing for a centre-back slot, Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes the move is the best way for Smalling to guarantee regular first-team football.

“At the moment we’ve got six centre-backs,” the Norwegian told Man Utd’s website.

“This is just something that popped up towards the end [of the European transfer window] in the last couple of days.

“Chris fancied the chance to go over there; it’s a new experience, new adventure.

“He’ll come back better for it because it’s a big club, it’s a good league. There aren’t too many English players who have been playing in Italy so I think he’ll enjoy it.”

Smalling is the third player to leave United for Italy this summer after Romelu Lukaku joined Inter in a €80 million (£74m/$90m) deal while Alexis Sanchez joined the Nerazzurri on loan earlier this week.

He is set to come up against his former team-mates for the first time on December 8 when Roma head to San Siro in Serie A.

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