Chris Smalling has settled as a regular starter for Manchester United during the current 2018-19 Premier League. And now the former Fulham defender will get rewarded for his improved performance at the heart of United’s defensive line.
According to a recent report from Sky Sports, Smalling is set to extend his current deal with The Red Devils. He is among the ones that will get a contract extension. Quite a deserved achievement for a player that has spent nine seasons with the club already. Smalling joined The Red Devils from Fulham back in 2010 and while he has alternated as a starter at times, he has settled as a key defensive piece during the current term.
Numbers do not lie
The England international might not be a very popular name, but the numbers do not lie: Smalling has always been a very important player for United. He has never made less than 22 appearances in a single season, and that was in 2012/13 when he missed a large chunk of the campaign due to a broken metatarsal. In total, he has so far put on the United shirt 303 times and scored 18 goals.
There were talks of Smalling potentially leaving the side before the start of the current season. As one would expect, these emerged due to differences with Jose Mourinho. However, the Portuguese tactician dismissed those rumours quickly. Smalling has responded to that trust with some fine performances at the back, and right now looks to be a first-choice defender at the centre-back role next to Victor Lindelof.
Talks of a new deal are underway, so we might have news on this subject quite soon.
Smalling’s potential extension shouldn’t change transfer plans
Of course, Smalling’s extension shouldn’t slow down United’s approach to sign a new central defender. Smalling is certainly a quality player to have around, but he is not a world-class players. United still lacks that type of game-changing defender – like Aymeric Laporte in Manchester City or Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool – and this new contract shouldn’t stop the efforts to sign a centre-back.
But without a doubt, extending Smalling is the right move. He has earned it with his play during the current term.