Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed defender Chris Smalling is on the plane to Italy ahead of a shock loan switch to Roma.
As reported by the Guardian, Smalling will join the Serie A giants after completing a medical today.
Roma will pay £2.7m for the centre-back’s services for the season, but there is no option to buy in his contract at the end of his spell.
“It’s just come up the last couple of days, this opportunity for Chris,” Solskjaer said in this morning’s press conference, as quoted by Manchester Evening News.
“Of course we sat down yesterday and discussed it. At the moment we’ve got six fit centre-backs. I couldn’t promise Chris regular football. He’s on the plane over now and I think he;’ll enjoy the experience over there.”
As Solskjaer notes, it was implausible to guarantee Smalling regular game time at Old Trafford, given he is behind Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and now Axel Tuanzebe in the centre-back pecking order.
The 29-year-old has been a good servant at Old Trafford and many fans would have preferred to keep him as a back up centre-back rather than the likes of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo.
But it’s a great opportunity for Smalling to test himself in a new league, and we wish him the best of luck ahead of the new season.
Solskjaer has confirmed at his press conference this morning that Chris Smalling is travelling to Italy today to sign for Roma on loan. Darmian set to leave as well. Rojo definitely staying.
— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonESPN) August 30, 2019