Chris Smalling’s decision to join AS Roma on loan from Manchester United has been a success and he’s become one of the key figures in the Serie A side’s defence.

Calciomercato claims the idea of Paulo Fonseca’s side is to buy the centre-back outright soon so his asking price doesn’t shoot up.

Last week, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said the former Fulham man will return to Old Trafford after his loan spell.

“Yeah [he will return]. Chris has been fantastic, but we know sometimes if you change the environment it can go both ways. But Chris is the type to relish these challenges,” the United manager said.

“He’s cultured, enjoys life down there. It’s a new experience for him, and he is a boy who couldn’t be here without being a regular and I’m so happy for him. We can see the top player he is.”

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Calciomercato claim the comments don’t ‘frighten’ Roma sporting director Gianluca Petrachi, who has long established contacts with the Old Trafford club for Smalling.

Roma already made a first offer of €12m plus €3m in bonuses, which didn’t convince United and the English side are now demanding €20m to sanction Smalling’s sale.