Cape Town - AS Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca admits he would like to make Manchester United defender Chris Smalling's move permanent.
England international Smalling joined Roma on a season-long loan deal
from United last summer after being deemed surplus to requirements by
Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The 30-year-old has impressed during his time in the Italian capital,
featuring 26 times across all competitions and scoring in Roma's Serie A
victories over Brescia and Udinese.
Smalling, who also played the full 90 minutes of Sunday's 4-0 victory
over Lecce, has become a fans' favourite at the Stadio Olimpico and he
confirmed last week that he would be open to turning his move into a
That feeling appears to be mutual, with Fonseca now revealing that he
is keen to tie the former Fulham star down to a permanent deal,
although the final decision will ultimately rest with United, who could
opt to keep Smalling or open up a bidding war between other interested
"Chris is a great, great man, a great, great professional," Fonseca
told Sky Sports. "The adaptation (to Italian football) was very easy for
him. He's a boy that everyone loves in the club because he is a great
"I would like Chris to stay. We are speaking. I don't know if it is
possible because of the situation with Manchester United, but I would
like so much for Chris to stay here with us because he is very
Smalling is not the only player on loan from the Premier League that
Roma are keen to keep hold of, as the club would also like to sign
attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan on a permanent basis from
Mkhitaryan's temporary spell at Roma has been blighted by injuries,
but he scored and provided an assist against Lecce and appears to have
done enough to convince Fonseca of his qualities.
"Mkhi during this season got some injuries but he is returning now
and he is proving his quality," Fonseca added. "Let's see. He is a
player with great decisions on the pitch and I would also like to keep
Mkhi in our team."
- TEAMtalk media