Roma are a veritable whirlpool of uncertainty at the moment. With the sale of the club in flux, no guarantees of Champions League football revenues next season and the club posting record losses, there aren't many safe ports in this storm. One thing we do know for certain, though, is that Roma and Chris Smalling were made for each other.
After rolling the dice on a one-year €3 million dry loan for the 30-year-old English defender, Roma proved be the perfect landing spot for Smalling, who soon made quick work of Juan Jesus and Federico Fazio in the center-back pecking order. After making his first start for the club on September 25th against Atalanta, Smalling never looked back, transforming himself from a cast out at the Theatre of Dreams to quite simply one of the best central defenders in Serie A.
Loan spells seldom work out better than this, but since this is Roma we're talking about, there are gigantic strings attached. Without a set price to make Smalling's loan permanent, we've been privy to months...and months...and months of negotiations between Roma and Manchester United, most of which have had more grounding in the press than reality.
With headline after headline pointing towards a stalemate between the two clubs, it was hard not to lose hope; Roma simply could not afford the €20 million-plus fees we were seeing throughout the winter. And while there were intermittent stories of a compromise being reached, we were left frustrated time after time.
However, the latest wrinkle to this story is a rather interesting one. With Smalling adamant about his desire to remain with Roma, the Giallorossi have reportedly offered a new solution to their Premiership counterparts: a one-year extension of his loan plus a €14 million obligation to purchase Smalling in the summer of 2021.
On the surface, this doesn't look terribly enticing for United—they presumably want to cash in on Smalling now—but with his contract running through 2022, another loan isn't as wasteful as it may seem; they could afford to float him for another year and still fetch a reasonable fee next summer.
If this deal does come to pass, Roma's would have invested €20 million in Smalling (between the two loan fees and €14 million obligation), and while that's not quite the €30 million figures we saw early in the winter, given Smalling's preference for Roma, that might be the best the Red Devils can do.
We often speak about the pull Roma (both the club and the city itself) has on certain players, and this is one instance in which it could end up saving the club anywhere from five to ten million euros.
Smalling has been a blessing for Roma, and in a time of complete and utter uncertainty, keeping him in tow would provide some sorely needed consistency.