Arsenal are lining up a shock summer move for Manchester United defender Chris Smalling, according to reports in Goal.
The 24 year old has played 22 times in the Premier league this season, impressing in patches but has failed to fully secure a permanent role in the first team.
The report states that Arsene Wenger is planning to launch a summer bid for the Englishman as he looks to freshen up his defensive options ahead of next season’s campaign. The Frenchman was interested in him when he moved from Fulham to United in 2010 and his admiration for the centre back has not waned.
It further states that Wenger sees Smalling as the heir to Bacary Sagna, who is out of contract at the end of the season and has yet to sign a new deal at the Emirates. The Gunners are willing to step in and pay up to £12 million for him, whose current £52,000-a-week salary would fit comfortably into the Londoners’ rigid wage structure.
Smalling is reportedly unsettled at Old Trafford, with reports suggesting pictures of him out on the town partying while out of action through injury led to disciplinary action from the club. He signed for the Red Devils four years ago and has gone on to make 119 appearances for the club but is likely to be part of Roy Hodgson’s England squad for the upcoming 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.
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He has filled in at right back for United on various occasions, but his long term future is usually seen as a centre back rather than a right back. It is looking very likely there will be major changes at the back next season with the futures of Vermaelen, Koscielny and Sagna all up in the air and the Gunners are expected to add in that position in the summer.
The young defender has admitted that he is a fan of the Gunners and nearly made a move to the Emirates from Fulham back in 2010, but it somehow didn’t develop.
I think £12 million is ridiculously high for a player who has been struggling to establish himself in the United team. I don’t think he is talented enough to replace Sagna and with due respect to the Englishman, I would rather see the club retain the services Sagna by paying him what he wants and also extend his contract for another three years.
Would you take him for Sagna? Share your thoughts in the comments below.