Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted he was impressed by Chris Smalling during his loan spell at Roma this season.
The centre-back returns to Old Trafford after Roma failed to extend his season-long loan or secure a permanent transfer, which would have allowed him to play in the remainder of the Europa League.
Their loss and Smalling took to Twitter this morning to say he was ‘gutted’ about now being able to finish a Europa League campaign he started with the Serie A side.
However, Smalling cannot be registered as part of United’s Europa League squad — updated earlier today — but we’re sure there will be interest in his signature between now and when the transfer window shuts.
But Solskjaer has been impressed by Smalling and suggested that he could be a valued member of his United team moving forward.
“I think Chris has shown over his Man United career how valuable he is to Man United,” Solskjaer told the press, as per Manchester Evening News. “This season was about him being a regular and showing how good a centre-back he is.
“I wanted to give Harry, Vic [Lindelof] and Axel a chance, so we found that was best for him, to go to Roma and play for a year.
“Now he’s coming back and he’s shown this season he’ll be valuable. I’ve been speaking to Chris throughout and I’ve been delighted with his season.”
This also comes at a time when Solskjaer should be looking to strengthen his defence ahead of next season.
Unfortunately for Smalling, I think this ship has sailed and United need to look elsewhere while also trying to sell Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo.