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Man Utd expect Smalling to stay amid Everton loan interest

15:53 GMT+3 07/08/2019
Chris Smalling Manchester United 2018-19
The defender has been the subject of a query from Goodison Park but the Old Trafford outfit are keen to keep their man as things stand

Manchester United are expecting Chris Smalling to stay with them despite an approach from Everton to take the former England defender on loan.

Marco Silva’s side are seeking a centre-back to add to their squad ahead of the 2019-20 Premier League campaign and had earlier been linked with a move for Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma.

“What is the priority is the central defender,” Silva told the Liverpool Echo recently. We cannot go through a tough season with Mason [Holgate], Michael [Keane] and [Yerry] Mina - even if the boy [Lewis] Gibson is working with us, he’s not ready yet for this level.

“I don’t like to talk about Zouma, because he’s not our player. I don’t need to repeat anything about him.”

After failing to push a deal for Zouma over the line, Everton approached United regarding a possible loan deal for Smalling.

The 29-year-old has seen himself drop down the pecking order at Old Trafford following the £80 million arrival of Harry Maguire this week, and United are now overloaded with senior centre-halves.

That has resulted in the club being open to offers for the likes of Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones but sources close to negotiations have told Goal that as far as United are concerned the former Fulham man is staying at the Theatre of Dreams.

It is unclear whether a cash bid for a more permanent switch would pique United’s interest, but for now there is no indication that Smalling will be allowed to discuss a move to Goodison Park.

United are set to start the season with Maguire and Victor Lindelof as their first-choice centre-half pairing and have Axel Tuanzebe back from his loan spell at Aston Villa as well as Smalling, Rojo and Jones.

With Eric Bailly set to miss four to five months of action with a knee injury suffered on United’s pre-season tour there will be some need to retain alternative options at the back.

But with six players to choose from even in Bailly’s absence, United could well look to move on at least one senior defender in the final hours before the English transfer window slams shut at 17:00 BST on Thursday.