Manchester United have listed Chris Smalling as one of the players to be sold in the summer as Jose Mourinho has started shipping the players he doesn’t want next season. West Ham United have expressed their interest in the England international and want the player to join them at the London Stadium.
Smalling has had his injury issues this season and Mourinho questioned his desire after the player had missed a long spell for injury. With the arrival of Victor Lindelof from Benfica, Mourinho now has asked the club to find a suitor for the defender. The 27-year-old has been United’s fourth-choice centre-back after Bailly, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo and naturally, a player of his calibre wouldn’t waste time by being on the bench most of the time.
Smalling arrived from Fulham in 2010 and has been a regular until Mourinho’s arrival. He thrived under former boss Louis Van Gaal and was even adjudged player of the year. He renewed his contract with the club till 2019 after excellent performances but has been deemed to be surplus to requirements under Mourinho.
Smalling has a price tag of £15m and Slaven Bilic wouldn’t mind splashing this amount of money for him. Bilic wants to reshape his defence and Smalling could play a pivotal part in that.
Except for Winston Reid, no other defender has been able to display that reliability which is needed to bring stability to the backline. Bilic brought Jose Fonte from Southampton but the Dutch defender has failed to hit top form since his arrival. James Collins is past his prime so the arrival of Smalling will bring a ray of hope for the East Londoners.
At 27, Smalling has ample experience of the Premier League and can help Bilic in executing his plan. The Hammers could have done much better last season but due to an injury-ravaged season, Bilic wasn’t able to implement his plans.
Smalling’s departure might pave the way for Michael Keane to return to his former club. The defender left United for Burnley and has established himself as a more accomplished defender at the Turf Moor. United have been linked with the player for quite a while and Smalling’s departure could make United go all out to bring him in.
Bilic has signed Pablo Zabaleta from Manchester City and Smalling could be the second defender as Bilic is trying to mould the Hammers into a new shape.
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