Arsenal appear to have rekindled their interest in acquiring Chris Smalling according to the Metro to bolster their defensive options. Despite having defensive issues of their own, United may go ahead to cash in on their English centre back. At the height of United’s transfer activity this summer, the club showed keen interest in former Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaleen but Arsene Wenger rejected about 2 bids and eventually shipped him off to Barca. According to various reports during the summer transfer window, the Arsenal manager requested a player + money swap which could have seen either Jones or Smalling with some cash go the other way so Thomas could head for United but Van Gaal didn’t think that was good business and chose to cast his net elsewhere.
In 2010, the Gunners almost signed him up before he made his move to United and have since kept him under close assessments. In all their previous attempts, the deal had stalled but with new reports coming from Goal.com, this current attempt could materialize by the new year. The 24 year old is currently on a £52,000/week wage at United which is expected to suit Arsenal’s pockets. More so, Wenger recently admitted to serious injury worries in the defense with Debuchy and Monreal already sidelined for about 3 months after picking up several knocks and further restated the difficulty in signing a defensive cover in the coming months.
Smalling is already further down the pecking order at Old Trafford, after the likes of Evans, Rojo and Jones and with Wenger’s renewed interest, United may be more inclined to do some business since Van Gaal doesn’t seem to have any reservations on doing business with the North Londoners as evident in the Danny Welbeck sale. So if this deal is successful, it will further show the seriousness of Wenger’s new recruitment policy of hiring English youth sensations which has already kicked off with the arrivals of Chambers and Welbeck.
Furthermore, Smalling’s ability to play as Centre Back, Wing Back or even as a Defensive Mid-Fielder will make him a logical buy for Arsenal. United are also keen to make some more signings by January to reinforce their defense line and coupled with youth defense options like Blacklet, Thorpe and McNair already rearing their heads, Smalling should make the decision Welbeck made in order to maintain his relevance.