Last updated 3 months ago | By Mirror
Roma have reportedly made a breakthrough in their negotiations with Manchester United to keep Chris Smalling for next season.
Centre-half Smalling has rejuvenated his career on a season-long loan with the Serie A club, having become a fans' favourite after making 28 appearances and helping Roma keep nine clean sheets.
The 30-year-old - who has also scored two goals for the Italian side - is believed to be keen on staying, having recently said he had always fancied the challenge of playing abroad.
With Roma hit hard by the financial impact of coronavirus, the club were struggling to meet United's £22million valuation of Smalling - who has also been on Arsenal's radar.
But the two sides are edging closer to agreeing a permanent switch after a breakthrough in negotiations, according to Football Italia.
Under the plans, the former England defender would return to Roma on another loan next season, with an obligation to buy at the end of the season for a fee in the region of £15-£16m.
The agreement is effectively a permanent transfer, but with the payment deferred for a year - and also at a price lower than United had originally set.
Smalling recently told The Times he had always been keen on the idea of testing himself in another country.
"Some English players have gone abroad but not many," he said.
"It was a challenge that I wanted to take. I’m someone who definitely lives by not having any regrets. I like new things maybe out of my comfort zone and show people that anything is possible.
"I obviously enjoy my football, I enjoy my life and I try to maximise all of that."