According to pundit Steve Nicol, Chris Smalling is set to leave Manchester United this summer and Arsenal will make a move to sign the England centre-back.

Nicol, who spent 13 years at Liverpool in the 80s and 90s, discussed the possibility of a move during the ESPN FC programme.

Victor Lindelof’s £31m switch from Benfica effectively means that at least one of United’s centre-backs will be sold this summer, and Phil Jones’ comments seem as though he’ll remain for now at least.

West Ham are reportedly keen on the 27-year-old and could prepare an initial bid of £10m.

As quoted by the Daily Star Nicol said, “If I’m an Arsenal fan, I’m thinking ‘hold on a second’, are we a place for United’s cast-offs?

“And that’s not to be harsh on Danny Welbeck and Smalling, but it’s just a fact. Smalling may be in the England team but I don’t think he’s in a side that has a chance to win a Premier League, a Champions League, or anything else,” Nicol continued.

So I see this happening, because Arsenal need centre-backs. They’ve got some injury problems, even though we are still way, way short of the season starting. I think Smalling will end up at Arsenal.

I could understand Nichol and his comments, up until the final paragraph or so. It’s as if he’s completely forgotten that the 27-year-old has already won the Premier League twice before, in 2011 and 2013.

That’s before mentioning his belief that the Gunners need centre-backs. Really? It’s not a necessity and with Calum Chambers to return, Arsenal have depth in a backline which showed potential towards the end of last season.

Gabriel (knee) aside, Arsenal will have five fit centre-backs ready to feature in pre-season next month. Why do they need anymore?

United are believed to want around £15m for the England international and teams like Arsenal as well as the aforementioned West Ham could try and take advantage by offering a cut-price fee.

It wouldn’t make sense for the Gunners to pursue him though, unless they were interested in making Smalling a first-choice.

After the poor season he’s had, the move would be a backwards one from Arsenal’s perspective.

Besides, Jose Mourinho has already made it perfectly clear he will not sell to Arsenal unless he’s forced to.

Previous articleGiroud more likely to stay if Lacazette signs
Next articleWest Ham have spoken with Giroud’s representatives
Football writer. Objective reviews and analysis of European football. Lifelong Arsenal fan, youth football enthusiast.