Roma sporting director Gianluca Petrachi believes there is a chance that Roma will be able to make the loan move of Manchester United defender Chris Smalling a permanent one.

The England international left the Red Devils earlier in the season, to join the Serie A outfit for the remainder of the campaign, much to the frustration of many of the Old Trafford faithful, who continue to see their side struggle defensively.

Smalling has taken to the city of Rome and the Italian game well, and so a return to Manchester United should not be seen as a guarantee, particularly with Roma eager to sign the 30-year-old permanently.

Their sporting director doesn’t think keeping the Red Devils ace beyond his current loan spell is a forlorn hope either, as he divulged recently.

‘There is a chance,’ the Daily Mail quotes him as saying.

‘The player will choose what to do. If he really wishes, we will be happy to have him with us permanently.

‘We are very happy with Smalling and he knows it. With Manchester United, the relationship is excellent, we have an excellent feeling with the club.’

United have been utilising Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof at the heart of their defence, with Phil Jones coming in when they go with a three at the back, but Smalling is seen as an upgrade on those by many.

The central defender is earning rave reviews out in Rome, so it will be interesting to see if his long-term future remains with the Serie A giants, or if he will return to the Red Devils.

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