Roma have not yet ‘unlocked’ negotiations with Manchester United for Chris Smalling, but the two clubs are getting closer.

The centre back has been strongly linked with a return to the Italian capital this summer after spending last season on loan with Paolo Fonseca’s side.

He enjoyed a strong campaign with the Serie A club, becoming a key player for them and giving his career a much-needed reboot.

Both he and the club are keen for him to return and have been locked in talks with United over a permanent deal.

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Four days ago we covered a report from Corriere Dello Sport that stated there was ‘cautious optimism’ over the move, with United demanding €20m for the Englishman.

They’ve now followed up on that report today and say that the two sides are locked in a ‘delicate negotiation’ for the centre back, and while that hasn’t ‘unlocked’ as yet, the two have a ‘common goal’ to reach an agreement.

In fact, the newspaper states that there have been ‘glimmers’ from England that Manchester United will be open to dropping their €20m asking price and accepting €15m plus bonuses.

Sky Sports Italy back this up somewhat, stating that Smalling is the ‘number one goal’ for Roma and they are trying to sign him permanently.

They, though, add that the Italian side already have an agreement with Smalling on his contract for next season and he would ‘gladly continue’ in Serie A.

That would suggest Roma have jumped through all the necessary hoops to get this one over the line quickly in the coming weeks, once they’ve finally found some sort of agreement with United of course.