According to a story by The Independent today, Newcastle United have joined Everton and West Ham in the race to sign Manchester United centre-back Chris Smalling.
The report claims that the England International is set to leave Manchester United this summer, after slipping further down the pecking order at Old Trafford following the £31m arrival of Victor Lindelof from Benfica yesterday.
It is understood that we have now joined Everton and West Ham United at the front of the queue to sign the 27-year-old, however wages are expected to be a stumbling block, with the defender currently earning close to £100,000 a week according to the Independent.
Smalling has made 243 appearances for the Red Devils, winning two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, one League Cup and the Europa League over his 7 year stay at the club.
Interestingly, the report highlights that Rafa Benitez has targeted Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross as the man to build his defence around next season, but Smalling could be pursued as a younger and quicker alternative – however that will come at a cost.
This sounds like quite a difficult deal to pull off, but any deal to bring Smalling to Tyneside this summer could be seen a real statement of intent.