Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho says he spoke humorously with Chris Smalling about his not excessive passing ability.
Mourinho’s comments to a Portuguese paper have kindled talk that Smalling is desired to requirements at United and yesterday reports claimed that the English man has been told he is free to leave the club.
Premier League trip - West Ham, West Brom and Everton are all in pursuit of the 27-year-old, who the Daily Telegraph are reporting is available for £15million.
Mourinho finished the signing of Benfica’s Victor Lindelof last night, for a fee which could rise to £39.6million and he is expected to take the place of Smalling – a player, who started just 13 Premier League games last season.
Smalling did start the Europa League final win over Ajax, but while discussing his tactics for the Stockholm final win Mourinho was far from complimentary about Smalling.
“Last year showed us that we need options and quality to add depth to the squad,” Mourinho told Expresso.
He claimed his long-ball tactics in the final were engaged because Smalling’s passing and ability to bring the ball out from behind was not so good.
“I told my players that for me, beautiful is not giving our opponents what they want,” he added. “I even joked with Smalling, ‘With your feet, we’re for sure not playing out from the back!’ ”