With Victor Lindelof completing his move to Old Trafford, many expect the 22-year-old to be a regular partner alongside Eric Bailly in central defence. The young duo seems hard and steady, and their partnership is being considered to be United’s closest bet to a future Vidic-Ferdinand-esque defensive wall.
This would essentially indicate the loss of a first team spot for Chris Smalling. The 27-year-old Englishman failed to impress manager Jose Mourinho with his performances last season, and the air between them was palpably tense too, as Jose criticised the player for not playing against Swansea.
Despite winning the Players’ Player of the Year award during Louis van Gaal’s final season at the club in 2015-16, he was visibly a lot less intimidating in the recently-concluded campaign.
Smalling arrived at the club as a 20-year-old from Fulham for a fee of £10 million back in 2010, but the Reds now seem ready to sell the player for a value in the vicinity of £15 million.
This is not the first time Arsene Wenger has displayed his interest towards the England international, as Smalling was given an option of choosing between Arsenal and Manchester United before he finalized his move to Old Trafford.
Moreover, Arsenal put forward another attempt of a move in 2014 when Louis van Gaal was unimpressed with the player and was willing to let him go.
The need for a center-back is crucial for Arsenal at the moment, considering the rumors of Arsene Wenger planning on a back three formation next season.
Apart from Arsenal, West Ham and Everton are also considered among the English sides interested in the defender. While United may not wish to sell their defender directly to their league rivals, Smalling himself seems keen on a move away from the club, after having recently hired a new agent.
Written by Srivats Venkateswaran
Sports writer with a long experience of writing in football.Was football team head at EssentiallySports. Still deeply misses Sir Alex and Berbatov at United. An introvert at heart with a poetic hand. Engineer by choice, writer by passion.