We have been serially linked with a move for Manchester United defender Chris Smalling, and Arsene Wenger is apparently still keen on bringing the England international to the Emirates, as reported by the Mirror.
Wenger was first tipped to make a move for Smalling back in 2010, but Sir Alex Ferguson beat him to the punch and signed him from Fulham for £10m. We have been credited with an interest in him almost every transfer window since then, but he has – so far – stayed put.
The 25-year-old is among a handful of names set to be offered a new contract at Old Trafford, but Wenger is still hopeful he can prise him away from Louis van Gaal this summer.
He has just a year left on his current contract, and so if a new deal is not signed at the end of the season then United may have no choice but to sell.
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It’s hard to see a deal materialising for a number of reasons, however, and I would be surprised to see him in an Arsenal shirt next season.
We arguably don’t need him anymore, as, with the signing of Gabriel Paulista this past January, we have a number of options at centre-back. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are our current first-choice pairing, although Gabriel may soon displace the giant German if rumours are to be believed.
Calum Chambers also looks most likely to take up a role in the centre in the long term, despite being deployed mostly on the right this season. The acquisition of Smalling would stunt the growth of Chambers, and the Man United man isn’t exactly streaks ahead of the former Saint.
On top of that, we have Nacho Monreal and Mathieu Debuchy who can fill in at centre-back, so it’s difficult to see where we would fit Smalling in.
Van Gaal also has no reason to sell him at the moment, as their defence needs to be strengthened rather than weakened. Smalling may not be the best defender, but he has arguably been one of their best this season.
Unless the Dutchman goes on another massive spending spree this summer, it’s hard to see them letting him go. And why would Smalling even want to leave when he has more chance of playing week in, week out at Old Trafford?
I don’t think we need him, nor do I think we will get him.
What do you think, Gooners?