Charlie Nicholas has claimed that Arsenal should have signed Manchester United defender Chris Smalling in the summer before the England international moved on loan to AS Roma – and Gunners fans have reacted on Twitter.
Smalling, 29, dropped down the pecking order at Manchester United following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opting to promote Axel Tuanzebe to the first team – and completing the signing of Harry Maguire from Leicester City for £80million.
It saw the former Fulham star choose to try something new and move on loan to AS Roma, where he has since starred for the Serie A giants. Smalling has clocked up eight outings for Roma, helping them win four times and keep three clean sheets.
Smalling even scored last month during a 4-0 win over Udinese in Serie A, and is improving every game he plays. Arsenal icon Nicholas believes he would have been a good signing for Arsenal, with the Gunners defence struggling at the moment.
“Why not – and I don’t know how much he would have cost – go and get (Chris) Smalling from Manchester United in the summer before he went to Roma? Because he’d be better than what they had,” Nicholas told Sky Sports.
Smalling earns £70,000 a week at Manchester United, as per Spotrac, which is a wage much smaller than some of his teammates. Luke Shaw earns a whopping £150,000, while midfielder Fred rakes in £120,000.
The commanding centre-back may be tempted with a permanent exit at the end of his season-long loan at Roma, then, given he is earning much less than some of his teammates. Arsenal fans reacted to Nicholas’ comments, with some agreeing with Nicholas.
I mean, I know our defence has been a shambles, but Cahill and Smalling…really?!
I agreed with what he said about Emery and the clubs identity though, that we're moving backwards from last season etc.
That bit is unfortunately, very true!
— Chris Davison (@cdavison_afc) November 6, 2019
You haven’t seen Smalling at Roma. He’s a monster
— AubameBloodclaatYang (@MagnusLande99) November 6, 2019
Smalling would actually be an improvement TBH but it doesn’t matter that much Emery’s system is a main reason for our defence being poor not just the players
— Isaiah Bright (@IsaiahBright4) November 6, 2019
Smalling better than Luiz
— Harry Nikolidakis🇨🇦🇬🇷🇨🇦 (@pxhoudini) November 6, 2019
I would’ve taken smalling or Cahill, not over Saliba aswel as
Cahill and Smalling are better than what we have
— Tommy Milton (@Tommo389) November 6, 2019
— Alexizz (@Lexizz7) November 6, 2019