Why signing Smalling would add more strength to Leicester’s defence
According to a report by Daily Mirror, Leicester City are keeping tabs on out-of-favour Manchester United defender Chris Smalling.
Smalling, who is currently on a season-long loan at AS Roma has been solid at the back for the Italian side attracting interest from a host of clubs such as Arsenal, Everton, Juventus and Inter Milan, according to the report.
The arrival of Harry Maguire from Leicester in the summer saw Chris Smalling lose his place at Old Trafford under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Norwegian, who clearly did not have the 29-year-old in his plans, soon offloaded the centre-back to Italy, where he has been thriving ever since.
Smalling has looked like a man reborn under Roma boss Paulo Fonseca and has developed into one of their key players this season. His 5 clean sheets from 11 appearances lay further claim to it.
Despite being a centre-back Smalling has also proved his credentials as a goal-threat. He has 2 goals to his name already and has also provided an assist.
The Englishman has completed almost half a season and is set to join United once again when his contract expires in the summer. However, it seems unlikely that the defender would prefer a move back to Old Trafford with Solskjaer keen on promoting youngster Axel Tuanzebe, the report claims.
Leicester, meanwhile, have been one of the surprise entrants into the top-four this season. They have displayed a different brand of football under new manager Brendan Rodgers and are currently second in the table behind leaders Liverpool.
One of the main reasons for their terrific run of form has been a standout defence, which has conceded the least number of goals in the league so far.
Having conceded just 10 goals, they boast of the league’s best defence at present, and Rodgers owes it all to his two main men at the heart of their defence – Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu.
They have been so outstanding since the season’s inception that Rodgers has often chosen to field the two together for almost all their matches till now. Soyuncu never looked devoid of confidence and has filled the void left by former centre-back Harry Maguire.
A former Manchester United player, Evans has finally found recognition late in his career after arriving at Leicester in the summer of 2018. However, he is 31 already and it remains to be seen if the Irishman could continue his good form for a longer duration.
Apart from these two, the Foxes have two more defenders – veteran Wes Morgan and the young Filip Benkovic. Morgan is 35 and way past his prime, while Benkovic still has time but needs to establish himself as a regular.
Taking all of this into consideration, it is no doubt Leicester are on the lookout for an experienced centre-back in the likes of Smalling.
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The Englishman has made a whopping 323 appearances for the Red Devils and has enough experience to back his credentials. He has also played over 30 games for the Three Lions since making his debut in September 2011.
Leicester should make good use of Smalling’s disinterest to return to his parent club and land the defender valued at around £18million.
With not many established defenders left in their ranks, Smalling’s arrival would only add more depth to the Foxes backline. Moreover, it would also offer Rodgers plenty of options to choose in defence.