Man Utd refuse to budge on £25m asking price for central defender

Manchester United will reportedly not sell on-loan defender Chris Smalling for a fee below their £25m asking price.

Smalling has been enjoying life at Serie A giants Roma this season, impressing in 20 appearances in all competitions.

The Sun report that Roma boss Paulo Fonseca wants to make the central defender’s season-long loan switch permanent and have been in talks with United over his signature.

It is claimed Roma offered an initial £13m with another £3.3m add-ons this week, which was rejected by United who believe he has justified his £25m price tag with his performances in this campaign.

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However, it is reported that Smalling himself wants to stay in Italy and is willing to take a pay-cut on his number £130,000 per-week wages to complete the move.

There’s no surprise Smalling would want a permanent move away from Old Trafford where he could not make Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-team.

Meanwhile, at Roma, he is a mainstay in the side alongside Gianluca Mancini in central defence.

United’s poor defensive record this season has prompted many to question the decision of Smalling’s loan exit.

Club legend Rio Ferdinand is baffled that the club let a player of Smalling’s defensive quality and experience go.

“He’s the best defender at the club,” Ferdinand said, as quoted by the Mirror.

“If we’re talking just outright defending, he’s the best defender at the club. I don’t understand it.

“That’s just my opinion as a centre half looking at it. If I was playing against Burnley today and had to pick a centre half from Manchester United to play, he would be the first name on the sheet.”

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