There was a lot of confusion when Chris Smalling was sent to AS Roma on loan from Manchester United.

Not because he was leaving, as many understood the reasoning after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made it clear Axel Tuanzebe would be his number three option at centre-back, but due to the lack of clarity as to his future at Old Trafford.

Everyone agreed the Serie A club would be paying around €3m for the temporary deal, but what happened after that was a bunch of mixed reports.

Some had it as a dry loan, while others believed there was a clause to make the deal permanent, and an agent, Giulio Meozzi, even came out and said it depended on his performances.

Well, Corriere dello Sport on Friday try and clarify the situation a bit, without giving explicit details.

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Going through the list of loans currently in Paulo Fonseca’s side, they explain there are ‘private agreements’ between the two sides that could decide the player’s future.

That, in our heads, suggests something along the lines of what Meozzi was hinting at, perhaps it depending on the number of first-team starts the defender makes or a total of minutes played on the pitch.

Either way, it doesn’t appear to be a straight option or obligation to buy, and more information will undoubtedly filter through as the season goes by.

It always does.