The 30-year-old has since made a permanent transfer to the Serie A giants and continues to impress with his performances at the Stadio Olimpico.
Chris Smalling Criticises Manchester United Over Roma Transfer
The Defender Was Also Made to Train Alone Before a Permanent Transfer in Summer
Despite completing nearly a decade of service to the club he joined from Fulham in 2010, Smalling felt that Manchester United offered him an absence of clarity over his loan transfer to Roma in 2019.
Having completed a season-long move to the Italian club at the end of August last year, the defender went on to establish himself as a commanding figure in the Roma defence.
Smalling made 37 appearances in the 2019/20 season and chipped in with three goals from centre-back. As the season progressed, it became clear that Roma owner Dan Friedkin was keen to bring the player back to the club on a permanent basis, but securing that deal became difficult with Manchester United despite Smalling’s status as surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.
Throughout the recent summer transfer window, Smalling was made to train alone as the two clubs struggled to agree a fee for the England international. Eventually, an £18 million deal was struck that saw Smalling make a permanent return to Italy as late as 5 October, having sat out the opening three games of Manchester United’s season.
Smalling Speaks Out Over Rough Treatment at Old Trafford
Smalling has spoken of his true feelings towards the elongated transfer negotiations for the first time and does not hide his disappointment over the Premier League side’s treatment towards him over the course of the negotiations.
“I was just a bit frustrated. One, I would like to have been told earlier and then secondly, I was only able to go with just a day left of the Italian window being open,” the 30-year-old told an interview with the Telegraph’s Sam Wallace.
Still referring to his initial loan move to Italy, Smalling continued: “I knew that my days under Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] were pretty much numbered. The English window had shut; I was left in a very s*** situation. I had to decide. After I had that chat [with the manager], it was a case of [him] saying ‘I’m not sure when your next game will be.’
“In an ideal situation I would have known early in the summer and made plans and it almost got to the stage where I had a day left. My wife had just had a kid as well. There was a lot going on that happened at the last minute.”
Smalling’s permanent exit from Old Trafford this year was an equally last-minute affair, and the player admits to being unsure whether the move would go through at all.
“There was more than one occasion when I didn’t think it was going to happen. Even in the week before. There were a couple of times when it was very close and it was pretty much off.”
Having successfully left the club for which he made 323 first-team appearances, Smalling is once again settling into his surroundings in Italy. The central defender has played four matches for Roma since the permanent transfer was finalised, with the club competitive in both Serie A and the Europa League.