It’s been a while (a whole 11 days) since we’ve covered the Chris Smalling situation at AS Roma, mostly because the Italian papers always say the same thing.

The bottom line is that without paying £20m, it will be very difficult for the Serie A side to keep hold of the England international, as Manchester United know there is a market out there for him, meaning a loan renewal isn’t most attractive option.

While there was a time when the defender wanted to stay, there have been a number of reports since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic claiming Smalling wouldn’t mind a return to England so he could be closer to the rest of his family.

Fast forward to Thursday and Roma face another hurdle in their league position.

Corriere dello Sport explain that Smalling wants the ‘guarantee of Champions League football’ in order to put himself on the biggest stage and try and ‘secure a call up with England for the upcoming Euros’.

With Roma currently fifth in Serie A, three points behind Atalanta (who have a game in hand), that’s not a done deal.

That will give him extra incentive to perform well in the remaining 12 games of the season should it restart in the foreseeable future, but he’ll also need his teammates to step up.

Considering Roma still have to face Napoli, Inter, Milan, Juventus and Fiorentina, that’s a lot to ask for, but coming fourth would not only be a big plus for Smalling, it would also allow them to have more money to pay the £20m United are asking for.

All of the incentives right there.