Manchester United plan contract negotiations with Chris Smalling

Manchester United are reportedly prepared to kick-start contract negotiations with Chris Smalling with his existing deal due to expire at the end of the current campaign. The England international started the season as one of the backup central defenders in the matchday squad but he has since managed jump ahead in the pecking order with Eric Bailly struggling to impress.

According to The Star, the Red Devils are keen on prolonging the stay of the former Fulham man, who has featured in each of the club’s previous five games across all competitions. It is added that manager Jose Mourinho is unsatisfied with the current options at hand but the arrival of another recruit in the New Year won’t hamper Smalling’s proposed extension with the club.

At the start of the season, Bailly and Victor Leindlof produced a strong showing in the 2-1 opening day triumph over Leicester City and it appeared that the duo could cement their positions at the heart of the backline for the forthcoming matches. However, the combination lasted for just one more goal against Brighton where the club succumbed to a 3-2 defeat and the vast part of the blame was put on Bailly, who conceded a penalty in a rather mediocre display.

Since then, Smalling has managed to maintain his position in the central defensive department and this appears to have increased the club’s urgency to extend his stay with long-time admirers Arsenal said to be monitoring his services. Since the summer of 2014, the Gunners are said to have made two attempts to pursue the Englishman but on both occasions, their approach was dismissed with United having no desire to sell.

However, with just 10 months left on his current contract, there remains a sense of uncertainty surrounding the defender’s future and the upcoming weeks may give an idea whether United are making progress to prolong his stay beyond next summer.