When Manchester United loaned our Chris Smalling to AS Roma, eyebrows were raised. The former Fulham man had fallen out of favour at Old Trafford, and was consistently making errors when he was picked. A move to Italy was seen as an odd one, but the Englishman set about making himself beloved by the AS Roma fans.

He soon became a fan favourite and a must-keep, excelling in the back three that coach Paulo Fonesca employed. Now, it looks like he could be returning to Italy after all. Moves to Juventus and Internazionale were also mooted, but it appears that Roma are going to win the race and brig back a player who made such a big impression last year.

Having rebuilt his game under Fonseca, Smalling looks every bit the Manchester United stalwart that he once was. Fading badly in his later years at Old Trafford, though, this rejuvenation of his career is sure to set Smalling on the path to getting himself both back in the England national team and competing in European competition again.

Smalling is joining Roma who have just been bought by The Friedkin Group. Run by Dan Friedkin, the American investor looks set to put a huge amount of effort into the club and invest heavily as Roma looks to return to its days of being in the UEFA Champions League on a regular basis.

The first key to that cog, it would appear, it bringing Smalling back to Italy.

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