Manchester United defender set to join Roma on loan

Alexis Sanchez left the Premier League for Serie A on Thursday and two more Manchester United players are ready to make the same move.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed Chris Smalling is set to join Roma on loan with Matteo Darmian likely to follow him to Italy.

After falling out of favour at international and now club level, England centre-back Smalling will seek to rebuild his career in Serie A.

Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca has been on the hunt for a new defender since selling Kostas Manolas to Napoli.

Confirmation of the impending move comes a day after Alexis Sanchez joined Inter but, unlike the Chile international, Smalling could still have a future at Old Trafford.

“It just came up in the last couple of days,” Solskjaer said ahead of Saturday’s match against Southampton.

“We sat down and discussed it. At the moment we have six fit centre-backs and I couldn’t guarantee regular football for Chris. He’s on the plane over there.

“There haven’t been a lot of English players in Italy. I think he’ll enjoy the experience and I’m sure he’ll come back stronger and better for it.”

Another little-used defender, full-back Darmian, appears poised for a return to his homeland, but Solskjaer ruled out a possible departure for Marcos Rojo.

Neither player has made an appearance in the Premier League this season.

“I can see maybe Matteo [leaving],” the United manager said.

“There has been some interest in Matteo over in Italy.

“Marcos is staying, definitely. We have a squad now less in numbers but certainly big enough and strong enough.”

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