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Manchester United Reportedly Reject Chris Smalling Loan Transfer Bid by Everton

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2019

HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND - MAY 05:  Chris Smalling of Manchester United arrives  prior to the Premier League match between Huddersfield Town and Manchester United at John Smith's Stadium on May 05, 2019 in Huddersfield, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Manchester United have reportedly rejected an approach from Everton to take Chris Smalling on loan for the upcoming season.

Simon Stone of BBC Sport noted the offer had been made and referred to the player's long-term contract at Old Trafford:

Simon Stone @sistoney67

Everton asked to take Chris Smalling on loan. Not happening. Smalling remains at Man Utd. Signed new contract in December that runs to 2022.

According to Rob Dawson of ESPN FC, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to keep the defender, meaning Marcos Rojo is the most likely centre-back to leave the Red Devils this summer:

Rob Dawson @RobDawsonESPN

Everton enquiry about taking Chris Smalling on loan has been turned down by United. Seven centre-backs in the squad but Solskjaer wants to keep him. Rojo most likely to go if there's a departure.

United have strengthened their centre-back options with the signing of Harry Maguire already in this window. The Red Devils parted with an £80 million fee to secure the Leicester City man, a world-record amount for a defender.

Maguire is certain to be the team's defensive mainstay next season, while Victor Lindelof should partner him in a centre-back duo, having been the team's most dependable option in the position last season.

That means a number of United defenders look set for a major fight for a starting berth, including Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Rojo and Smalling.

Per Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News, the latter has not been called upon in a number of pre-season encounters: 

The 29-year-old Smalling made 24 starts for the Red Devils last season and was part of a number of poor defensive displays for United.

While there was little structure or consistency in defence, Smalling's concentration, positioning and struggles to play out from the back often left United in trouble.

Everton are short of centre-back options as the new Premier League season edges closer. Michael Keane enjoyed a fine 2018-19 season, although he was frequently partnered by Kurt Zouma, who has returned to Chelsea after an impressive loan campaign.

The team's options to partner Keane include Yerry Mina, who struggled for fitness after he moved to Everton from Barcelona last summer, and Mason Holgate, who spent the second half of the previous season on loan at Championship side West Bromwich Albion.