Why giving new contract to Chris Smalling is not the best move
As per the report in the Independent, Manchester United centre-back Chris Smalling has signed a contract extension with the club, which will keep him at Old Trafford until 2022. He will spend a decade with the Red Devils if he sees out his current contract.
The 29-year-old, who joined Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man United from Fulham in 2010 for around £7m, had his contract running out at the end of this season. The report says that the current deal has an option for a one-year extension if required.
Smalling has been a constant pick by manager Jose Mourinho, who has now left the club. Hence, from that perspective, the new contract made sense. However, here’s why this is not a forward step from the club’s point of view:
United need more than a Chris Smalling extension
Manchester United have made the worst possible start to their league season, which was underlined when they were played out of the park by Liverpool this past Sunday.
No part of their game looks settled and they seem devoid of any ideas as to how to make progress. Mind you, some of the players they have are world-class but Mourinho somehow failed to get the best out of them.
Though Chris Smalling is not a world-class centre-back (with all due respect), he has started games on a regular basis. This speaks volumes about the club’s current state. The Englishman is a good player who shouldn’t be relied upon for his ability and fitness if a team is looking to challenge for trophies.
The Red Devils have conceded 29 goals in 17 league games (13 of them featuring Smalling); only the current bottom five clubs in the Premier League have let in more, except Huddersfield. Hence, it is clear why starting the 27-year-old on a consistent basis won’t make a difference on the positive front.
United have Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly who are younger and better. United should clear the air with the latter and start him for an extended run of games. Moreover, it is evidently visible that this team requires an influx in defence.
A proper world-class centre-back who can be relied upon could be ideal for the Red Devils. As of now, reaching the top four looks a distant dream, while a Champions League draw with PSG makes it ever hard for them to think of challenging in Europe.