At this point, it will be more of a shock if AS Roma don’t buy Chris Smalling from Manchester United before the end of the season.

We say this because every time the English defender steps onto the pitch, praise ends up going his way, and that’s a bonus for all parties.

Of course, the better he plays, the more Manchester United will end up asking for him, yet Roma are in an advantageous position in that they have a head start on the competition by already having the player close to them.

However, as Il Messaggero on Monday say, buying him outright and ‘tearing him away’ from Old Trafford still isn’t ‘obvious’, even with talks already reported to have been underway for a number of weeks.

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The biggest fear is that both parties don’t come to an agreement before the loan ends, at which point Roma will ‘risk paying an exorbitant amount next summer’ if they desire to do so.

With a few other names circling around (like Inter and Milan) as keeping tabs on the United loanee, there is a strong desire to get it down as soon as possible.

As for Smalling in all this, you will be aware he is thoroughly enjoying himself in Italy, and isn’t thrown in the slightest about the uncertainty surrounding his future.