Roma face a major battle to sign Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan – only Champions League qualification will stop a Manchester United return for the defender while Arsenal must be convinced to sell up for just £8.5m
- Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have enjoyed their loan spells with Roma
- But Smalling’s tenure looks increasingly unlikely to become a permanent move
- Mkhitaryan, meanwhile, would take a pay cut to join Roma on a long-term deal
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Roma’s plans for the next transfer window are based mainly around Arsenal’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Manchester United’s Chris Smalling.
The duo are wanted by Roma chief-executive Gianluca Petrachi. But Smalling is waiting to see if the club reaches the Champions League and is unlikely to remain in Rome without the possibility of playing in Europe’s elite competition.
Smalling is perfectly settled in the Italian capital and before the Coronavirus outbreak indefinitely halted everyday life, he was a frequent visitor to Roman parks, museums and restaurants.
Chris Smalling appears to prefer returning to Manchester United after his Roma loan
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, meanwhile, wants to join Roma permanently and would take a pay cut
But Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to bring him back to the Premier League and if both Roma and United both fail to qualify for the Champions League, then Smalling’s preference would be a return to England.
Roma are also likely to struggle to meet United’s £25m asking price if they fail to make the Champions League – they are fifth in Serie A, three points outside of the top four.
But the Italian outifit could have more luck pursuing Mkhitaryan.
According to Corriere dello Sport, the Armenia international has informed his agent, parent club Arsenal and Petrachi himself that he wants to stay at all costs in Rome – even if he has to reduce his wages.
Roma can’t meet United’s £25m asking price for Smalling without the Champions League
Mkhitaryan wants to stay in Rome in part because it is where his son was born
The one requirement he has is regarding the length of his contract – Mkhitaryan wants a four year deal with the Serie A side. His son was born in Rome and he can imagine finishing his career in the country.
Roma hope to pay a maximum of 10m euros (£8.5m) for Mkhitaryan.
The near expiration of the Armenian player’s contract at Arsenal – his deal is up in June 2021 – could also be a massive positive in negotiating a deal.