Chris Smalling can “definitely see a longer-term future” for himself at AS Roma should things work out on his loan spell from Manchester United.
Following Harry Maguire’s world-record arrival at United from Leicester City, Smalling fell further down Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s pecking order and seemed set for a long spell out of the first-team.
With this in mind, the 29-year-old decided to end his near-decade-long stay at Old Trafford for a season-long loan move to Roma.
Although it turns out that Smalling’s switch to the Italian capital could prove to be more than a mere temporary lifeline.
Speaking during his official presentation as a Roma player on Friday morning, Smalling said: “I think this is an opportunity that came to me that I was very interested in, and I was very eager to come.
“It happened very quickly. I am very focused on the next game, getting up to speed with training and learning the manager’s methods. And then hopefully I want to have a very good season. After that, we will see.
“To have a chance at a big club, if it goes well and the club is happy and I am happy, then I can definitely see a longer-term future in Italy.”
The England international was a regular figure in the United backline across his nine years at the club. Aside from making 323 appearances, he helped the Red Devils claim eight trophies – which includes the 2016/17 Europa League.
Smalling’s experience, therefore, could end up being a valuable asset for Roma in the competition this season.
“I think this club definitely has a chance,” Smalling said on Roma’s Europa League hopes.
“We will be one of the favourites in the competition. Obviously, there are a few other clubs too, but Roma will be among the favourites.
“It has been great to have won it previously, but it would be even greater to win it here in Italy.”
Smalling could make his Giallorossi debut on September 15 at home to Sassuolo on the Serie A.
Roma are currently down in a lowly 15th-place in the standings after drawing their first two matches. Therefore, Paulo Fonseca’s men will be determined to get their season back on track when club action resumes.