In the latest edition of As the Smalling Turns, our protagonist, 33-year-old English defender Chris Smalling, remains busy basking in the glory of Roma's last-minute comeback against AC Milan. A mere four days after turning in a Man of the Match performance against Bologna, Smalling put in another solid 90-minute shift against Italy's reigning champions, further cementing his importance to José Mourinho and the Giallorossi.
While the man affectionately known as Smalldini is busy prepping for another double shot of calcio this week (Wednesday against Genoa, Sunday against Fiorentina), Roma GM Tiago Pinto is hard at work trying to extend Smalling's stay in the Italian capital. Over the holiday break, the two sides reportedly exchanged figures, with the Giallorossi offering a two-year contract extension to keep Smalling tied to the club through June 2025.
When we first discussed this rumored contract extension, Roma's biggest fear was their neighbor to the north, Inter Milan. Given his importance to the team and his standing with the fan base, Roma should pull out all the stops to secure their man. However, with the club reportedly holding firm on their two-year, €5 million proposal, Smalling's entourage has been busy fielding other offers.
The Nerazzurri may very well make a play for Smalling, but according to calciomercato.com, Roma may have a new foe to contend with: the Premiership. According to their reporting, Smalling could thumb his nose at any Italian offer, preferring instead to end his career in his native England.
While calciomercato didn't speculate on which clubs may be interested in Smalling, they concede that none of the Premiership's major players are involved. In that light, Smalling's decision boils down to three options:
- Stay in Rome, where he's comfortable and might play in the Champions League next season.
- Stay in Italy and sign with Inter Milan, where the likelihood of Champions League football is much greater.
- I don't know... Brentford? Crystal Palace? Leeds, perhaps? Or maybe back to Fulham, where it all started?
Whatever path he chooses, Smalling's legacy with Roma remains secure, but it would be nice to finally see this man play for the Giallorossi on Europe's biggest stage.
Stay tuned; neither side seems in a particular hurry, so we'll no doubt revisit this story before too long.