Arsenal plotting surprise raid for Man United’s £80,000-a-week defender: report

Premier League rivals Arsenal are said to have approached for the services of Manchester United defender Chris Smalling this month, according to reports. The England international is currently contracted to United until 2019 with the option of a 12-month extension clause.

United boss Jose Mourinho had contemplated the sale of Smalling in the summer with the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal credited with an interest, but ultimately the long-term injury to Marcos Rojo stalled the Portuguese’s plans.

£80,000-a-week defender continued playing second fiddle to Phil Jones and Eric Bailly in the early part of the campaign, but an ankle surgery for the latter has permitted the 28-year-old to establish himself as a regular at the heart of the backline.

The centre-back has had issues whilst dealing with players with pace including the likes of Jamie Vardy, but he has nevertheless been groomed into the United mould, and is very good at dealing with the aerial threat, particularly from set-pieces.

With Bailly only expected to return at the end of February, Mourinho is unlikely to entertain the prospect of selling Smalling anytime soon, given Victor Lindelof still remains a bit-part player whilst Marcos Rojo has been used in stages since recovering from his anterior cruciate ligament problem.

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