You know how Italians have this reputation for being dramatic?

Well, let’s just say that when it comes to Chris Smalling, Gazzetta dello Sport have pulled out all the stops on Friday to make it sound like the England international is being held captive by Ed Woodward in a cave somewhere in the Pennines.

They praise the centre-back for his decision to not vocally express his desire to return out of respect for his club, explaining he will ‘win the golden patience award because being stuck in Manchester for almost three months without certainty is something unimaginable and inexplicable’.

Smalling, who enjoyed a great spell with AS Roma on loan last year, has had to watch the Premier League club turn down all offers for his services throughout the window as none have matched their €20m asking price.

The article explains the Italians are ‘waiting until the last few days to pay no more than €15m’, but with his staunchest admirer in Paulo Fonseca currently under scrutiny, ‘Chris cannot remain a prisoner for life at United’.

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The next few days could be key, because ‘someone like Smalling would suit anyone, including Inter’.

As was pointed out earlier on Friday by Corriere dello Sport, Antonio Conte’s side could be in the running with a late bid, especially if they manage to sell Milan Škriniar to Tottenham.

Gazzetta explain ‘Antonio Conte esteems [Smalling] a lot, considers him perfect for the three man defence, with a perfect attitude and perfect for the leadership accumulated in many seasons at the highest level’.

In short, the centre-back would be, you guessed it, ‘perfect’ to replace Godín now the Uruguayan is ‘signing autographs in Cagliari’.

Roma seems to remain his favoured destination, and Gazzetta state that if they don’t manage to get their man, ‘they would be wrong twice’.

Firstly ‘from a technical point of view’ since he suits Fonseca’s plans down to a T, ‘but also and above all for not having freed him a month ago at least’.

It seems the Italian newspaper no longer see a deal as a transfer, but more as a ransom being paid to release a poor kidnapped soul who only wanted what was best for his career: to play first-team football at a high level.

Honestly, we’re just glad he hasn’t been linked with Napoli, because there’s a good chance their article would have been filled with Camorra references.