Should I stay or should I go now? 

This, other than a lyrical extract from a great song, is the question Chris Smalling will be asking himself when it comes to a return to Manchester United.

The England international was sent to AS Roma to get some guaranteed game time, which is exactly what he got, and he impressed enough for the Serie A side to want to keep him beyond the current season.

Unfortunately, they don’t have the money to meet Manchester United’s asking price of €20m, and that remains the biggest problem.

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It’s one that’s been around since the rumours started back in 2019, and with the Italian club outside of the Champions League spots in their league as things stand, spending that much on a 31-year-old is out of the question.

They do, however, have the player on their side, as Corriere dello Sport reveal Smalling, who knows his future at Old Trafford isn’t one filled with guaranteed minutes, ‘would happily stay in Italy’ and has ‘reiterated this to [Paulo] Fonseca (his manager) over these past few days’.

That’s why there’s ‘always hope’ of AS Roma getting a discount, but one thing is certain: ‘they will never reach €20m to redeem Smalling’.

The ball, as it has been over the past six months or so, is firmly in Manchester United’s court.