The 30-year-old defender has been an excellent performer for Roma and Paulo Fonseca’s wish is to keep him.
However, financial realities make a deal almost impossible. The Romans are suffering financially, with their debt reaching €278.5m according to their latest balance sheet.
Smalling arrived from United on a dry loan and after a great season, the Red Devils want him back. Their plan is not to keep the centre-back, but monetise his transfer.
Between his €20m fee and a three-year contract (€3m net, €5.5m gross), Roma would be committing €37m to signing Smalling.
In Roma’s current state, that is an unsustainable investment, particularly for a player who has already turned 30.
Trouble in the capital…
The Giallorossi will have a defensive revolution this summer that goes beyond Smalling.
Of Juan Jesus, Federico Fazio, Mert Cetin, Gianluca Mancini and Roger Ibañez, only the last two could remain.
Jesus, Cetin and Fazio are not part of Fonseca’s technical plans and will help lower the Roma wage bill, even if they do not command large transfer fees.
In order to sell the 24-year-old, Roma have offered Leipzig a 15% discount on the price agreed a year ago. The asking price is now €24m, but in a single payment.