Bengaluru, Feb 20: Two Premier League sides Tottenham Hotspur and Everton have reportedly joined the chase to sign Manchester United loanee Chris Smalling in the Summer, according to Italian publication Corriere dello Sport.
Smalling fell out of favour with Manchester United when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer signed Harry Maguire this summer. Often error-prone, the 30-year-old English defender however since shifting base to Italy has found a new lease of life. The Englishman has averaged an extraordinary tally of 2.2 interceptions and 4.3 clearances per game - more than any other player in the team as per whoscored. His commanding presence at the back has helped Paulo Fonseca to deal with an injury crisis earlier in the campaign.
The Italian giants are keen to secure the resurgent defender on a permanent basis but will have to fend off strong competition from Tottenham and Everton who have been monitoring his position. The Red Devils have reportedly put up an asking price of £16.6 million for the player but it reportedly is out of Roma's reach.
Tottenham and Everton reportedly have been keeping tabs on the player and reportedly would be able to match the transfer fee. Moreover, both of them would be able to offer Smalling a pay rise on his current deal at Roma which is in the region of £50,000-a-week which is currently giving the Premier league sides an upper hand.
Who has the best chance of getting him?
Tottenham Hotspur have been lacklustre defensively this season and Toby Alderweireld has been the only consistent performer. But at the age of 30, he is nearing the final phase of his career while same can be said about Jan Vertonghen who looks to leave the side in Summer as a free agent. Juan Foyth's display too looks to have not impressed Mourinho and he is unlikely to have a future under Mourinho. At such moment Davinson Sanchez looks to be the only proper defender available for improvement.
Signing Smalling for a fee of around £20m should add more depth in the defensive department and he could be a bargain replacement for Vertonghen. However, it won't be a guarantee if he will be a starter in the side but he surely can offer competition to the likes of Sanchez and Alderweireld.
At Everton however, Smalling is likely to slot directly into the starting XI. Ancelotti is expected to have a big budget over the Summer to rebuild the squad and getting someone like Smalling in the set-up for a decent amount would surely help them target other areas of the field. Smalling surely would be a big upgrade over the likes of Kena, Mina or Holgate.
Smalling will almost certainly seal a permanent move away from United this summer. Roma could also look to sign him permanently however they have to match the asking price of United. However, in Premier League, if the chase comes down to only Spurs and Everton then Mourinho could have a slight edge in this hunt thanks to his past relationship with the player.