Chris Smalling Sale Reportedly Readied by Manchester United Amid Latest Rumours

Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistMay 24, 2017

MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - MARCH 19:  Chris Smalling of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Manchester United at Riverside Stadium on March 19, 2017 in Middlesbrough, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Manchester United are reportedly preparing to sell centre-back Chris Smalling this summer after the England international fell down the pecking order at Old Trafford in 2016-17. 

According to Warren Haughton in The SunWest Ham United and West Bromwich Albion are the early front-runners to snap Smalling up.

The 27-year-old became a key figure at United under former manager Louis van Gaal. However, under current boss Jose Mourinho he has arguably been the fifth-choice centre-back behind Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind when all are fit.

With Bailly suspended and Rojo out injured, it will seemingly be a toss-up between Smalling and Jones as to who starts alongside Blind in Wednesday's UEFA Europa League final against Ajax, per the Manchester Evening News' Samuel Luckhurst:

It is not a surprise United are looking to offload Smalling as he has not enjoyed the best of campaigns in 2016-17, and the Red Devils have been linked with a number of centre-back targets, including Burnley's Michael Keane and Benfica's Victor Lindelof, per John Cross in the Mirror. David McDonnell of the same newspaper also noted Paris Saint-Germain's Marquinhos as a possible signing.

United signed Smalling from Fulham in 2010, when Sir Alex Ferguson was still in charge at the club. He became a senior player under Van Gaal and was tipped as a future captain, per Sky Sports.

However, per Luckhurst, he has regressed recently:

With Bailly having impressed in his debut season at United, and Jones and Rojo improved under Mourinho, Smalling's role has become diminished and only a string of injuries granted him a handful of recent starts.

The England international has the experience and quality to thrive elsewhere in the Premier League, but his United career looks set to come to an end soon.