Roma keen to retain Smalling services

Cape Town - AS Roma are reportedly looking to turn Manchester United defender Chris Smalling's loan stay into a permanent one in January and are willing to pay a fee of £15 million.

The Italians took the Old Trafford central defender on a season-long loan but don't want to run the risk of losing the player next summer.

United are aware the 29-year-old is earning rave notices for his performances in Italy, so officials in Rome are wary the Red Devils could decide to welcome him back into the fold next year.

Smalling was the surprise odd-man-out following the £85 million summer arrival of Harry Maguire from Leicester City, leaving boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a difficult squad headache.

The Manchester giants also had Victor Lindelof, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones in their rear-guard ranks, so Smalling grasped the opportunity to realise his dream of playing abroad.

We revealed last month that Smalling has told members of his circle that he wants to stay at the Olympic Stadium and has asked his representatives to see if they can make it happen.

The Serie A outfit have already contacted United to try and discover what figure they might be prepared to accept.

Bosses in Manchester rate Smalling closer to £25 million, based on his age and the current inflated prices being demanded in the market for experienced defenders.

It's understood Roma would prefer to pay around £15 million, although there could be further top-up bonuses factored on top of that.

Smalling signed from Fulham for £10 million in 2010 and went on to make 343 United appearances, winning two Premier League titles in the process.

Last weekend he was named man of the match in Roma's 2-1 victory in Serie A over Napoli, further suggesting to his current employers that he is worth retaining on a concrete basis heading into next season.

- TeamTalk Media