New Smalling contract would be further evidence of Man United’s inability to upgrade their defence

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According to the Daily Star, Manchester United are preparing to hand Chris Smalling a new contract with the club, as the defender’s current deal expires at the end of this season.

What’s the story?

Since joining the Red Devils from Fulham in 2010, Smalling has gone on to make nearly 300 appearances for the Manchester club and has bagged two Premier League titles and one FA Cup winners’ medal in his time at Old Trafford.

However, the 28-year-old’s performances have often come in for criticism and it is likely that had subsequent signings such as Marcos Rojo, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly had the kind of impact that they’d have hoped for then Smalling would no longer be a regular feature of United’s starting XI.

As it is, Smalling has started four of United’s six Premier League games so far this season and could now be set to extend his stay with the club even further.

A new way forward 

This is not evidence of a sudden upsurge in Smalling’s form, but rather a symptom of the failure of United’s other defenders to live up to expectations in the Premier League.

The fact that Smalling has lost his place in the England set up should be all the proof needed that he shouldn’t be one of Mourinho’s first choice centre-backs, and extending his stay at Old Trafford should surely place Ed Woodward’s position under threat.

Before offering the 6’4” defender a new contract, the Red Devils ought to first reassess their recruitment in this position and ask – before giving him the chance to commit his future to the side – whether Smalling remains the way forward for this club.