Roma are working on a shock move to sign Manchester United’s Chris Smalling before Monday’s transfer deadline.
Smalling is out of favour under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and free to pursue a switch elsewhere – just nine months after signing a new three-year contract.
Sportsmail understands Roma are looking at landing the central defender on loan until the end of the season.
As with Alexis Sanchez’s proposed move to Inter Milan, the Serie A side are unlikely to have the option to buy.
Roma would be expected to pay a loan fee, believed to be in the region of £2.7million.
The 29-year-old has not been involved in any of United’s three matchday squads so far this campaign, with Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire Solskjaer’s preferred pairing.
Academy product Axel Tuanzebe, who was at Aston Villa last term, has taken a place on the bench ahead of Smalling and Phil Jones.
Everton had shown interest in Smalling on deadline day but the England international remained at Old Trafford.
Roma have been searching for defensive reinforcements all summer and were looking at Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren.
The Italians are still considering the option of going back in for the Liverpool man following a rejected bid for Juventus’ Daniele Rugani, but now Smalling has emerged as the latest priority.
Roma sporting director Gianluca Petrachi was tipped return to Liverpool with a solid offer for Lovren, in hope the player’s desire for game-time will orchestrate a move.
Now the Croatian looks set for a stay on Merseyside, with Smalling poised to arrive and bolster the defensive ranks in the eternal city.