Reports: Manchester United star set to make a surprise move to another Premier League club
What's the story?
Just two years back, Chris Smalling looked all set to keep the baton passed on by a certain Rio Ferdinand all good and snug. But then he started tripping and slipping and has now, seemingly, finally stumbled his way out of Jose Mourinho's plans. As per reports of the Daily Express, West Bromwich Albion are now ready to offer a meager £10m for the Englishman and he could well be on his way out of Old Trafford as United are willing to sell.
In case you didn't know...
Ever since Mourinho's appointment at Old Trafford, Chris Smalling has looked like a round peg in a square hole in the heart of Manchester United's defence. His inconsistency and occasionally abysmal showings led to Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly moving up the pecking order.
Now, the United academy product Axel Tuanzebe is also starting to prove that he has the ability to stake a claim in the United line-up.
Following the arrival of Victor Lindelof from Benfica this summer, Chris Smalling may have his opportunities cut to an all-time low if he decides to stay put at the Theatre of Dreams.
The heart of the matter
Tony Pulis is an admirer of the 27-year-old England international. The WBA manager, who has already made another former United centre-back, Johnny Evans, his team captain, will hope that Smalling can strike up a rewarding partnership with his old teammate at West Brom.
However, with Leicester, Stoke and Crystal Palace circling around, Pulis will need to ante up his pursuit. The 59-year-old had earlier said that though the transfer window has been quite dull for them, they are hopeful on getting two more deals done soon.
West Brom have been after Arsenal's out-of-favour left wing-back Kieran Gibbs. Having signed Jay Rodriguez from Southampton for £12m, West Brom have grown less concerned about their problems up front. They have been scouring the market for defensive reinforcements and were initially reported to be interested in Kurt Zouma who ultimately joined Stoke on a year long loan deal.
Manchester United will return to the Champions League this summer and will need plenty of depth in his defensive line. Jose Mourinho loves to rotate his squad and Smalling will still get game time at United. At 27 years of age, Chris Smalling is about to hit his peak and will definitely be aspiring to represent England at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. In order to do that, he will need to consistently show up and take the reins in defence which he might not be able to accomplish at Old Trafford. This might just be the fact that tips the scale in favour of a Chris Smalling departure.
Chris Smalling has a huge decision to make. If he makes his move away from United, the Englishman will not be able to play in the Champions League, maybe, ever again. He will need adequate game time to make it to Russia in 2018 and might just end up short on that front if he stays at United. It's either step-up or ship-out for Chris Smalling and in the days to come, his fate will be sealed.