Another summer, another flurry of articles linking Arsenal to Manchester United centre-back Chris Smalling.
Almost every window for the past few years the Gunners have been linked with the 27-year-old England international. We reported on these links last year, the year before, seemingly every window recently.
But once again, the Daily Star are reporting that he’s on his way out of United, and Arsenal are interested, not for the first time this summer apparently.
As for the first part of the story, this is very likely to be true. United have a new first choice centre-back pairing of Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelöf, to add to the fact Smalling only made 18 league appearances last season before Lindelöf’s addition.
Mourinho and Smalling also had a public falling out, with the Portuguese boss claiming that Smalling hadn’t tried hard enough to come back from injury to help the team.
Arsenal have plenty of centre-backs, with Monreal, Kolašinac, Holding, Mertesacker, Chambers, Bielik, Koscielny, Mustafi and, apparently, Mohamed Elneny all providing options.
This may change with loans or sales, but for now Arsenal have no reason to sign yet another centre-back option unless they’re truly going to improve the first XI, and it’s not clear Smalling would do that.
Plus, Jose Mourinho, no matter how much he dislikes a player, would never sell to Arsenal. We were only able to sign Petr Cech from Chelsea because the stopper had an agreement with Roman Abramovich.