A pair of reports have given Roma a boost in their chances of keeping Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
The duo have been impressive while on loan at Roma this season from Manchester United and Arsenal respectively, although it is unlikely the club would be able to afford to sign both permanently without Champions League qualification.
Smalling and Mkhitaryan are both valued around the €20m mark by their parent clubs, making it difficult for Roma to find the funds for both, despite how good they have been.
However, reports now indicate that the pair have a chance of continuing with Roma next season.
According to Gazzetta Dello Sport (via the Daily Mirror), Manchester United are lining up a move for Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, who would effectively be a replacement for Smalling.
United have been linked with Koulibaly for an eternity, so perhaps the links should be taken with a pinch of salt – and the high price tag the Senegal international would command may suggest that United would in turn demand more from the sale of Smalling.
However, they may be able to raise funds from the sale of Paul Pogba, as Juventus continue to show interest in re-signing the French international. Therefore, it is claimed that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be happy to let Smalling leave as long as he is replaced, with the Englishman having settled in so well in Rome.Embed from Getty Images
Meanwhile, The Sun claim that Roma could also keep Mkhitaryan – but not on a permanent basis.
Their report indicates that the Armenian attacking midfielder could renew his contract at Arsenal, before being sent out on loan to Roma again – an idea once suggested right here on Giallorossi Yorkshire.
According to The Sun, Mkhitaryan is desperate to stay at Roma and sees no other option for his career – so much so that he is willing to halve his Arsenal salary to extend his loan for another season.
Mkhitaryan’s contract at Arsenal expires in 2021, so they would have to renew that first to avoid losing him for free at the end of next season.
By doing so, they could loan Mkhitaryan back to Roma for a fee of just over €4m – and he is willing to drop his salary to around £90,000-per-week at Arsenal to help faciliate the chain of events.
It is not the Gunners’ preferred option, as they would rather sell the 31-year-old this summer, but Roma are unable to match their valuation, so another loan may be in the best interests of all parties.