Fulham are interested in bringing Chris Smalling back to Craven Cottage after his proposed permanent move to AS Roma seems to have fallen through.

The England centre back spent last term on loan with the Italian giants but has returned to Manchester United after Roma failed to meet his parent club’s £20m asking price. The 30 year-old, who made 30 appearances for the Giallorossi and found the net three times, had been eager to move to Italy after slipping down the pecking order at Old Trafford but Roma’s reluctance to match either United’s valuation or to be able to pay his wages for another loan leaves Smalling in limbo.

Reports yesterday suggested that several Premier League clubs had been alerted to Smalling’s availability following the collapse of his proposed switch to Roma. Newcastle have long been admirers of the 6’4” centre half but, the collapse of a recent takeover bid leaves the Magpies unable to fund significant transfers without the approval of Mike Ashley. Smalling’s rumoured £130,000-a-week wages would be a stumbing block for any suitors, although he was believed to be willing to take a hefty cut in salary to secure a move to Roma had it materialised.

Fulham’s interest in their former player is considered legitimate, although it remains to be seen whether they would look to take him on loan initially or table a bid to bring Smalling back outright. The defender’s professional career began at Craven Cottage after Roy Hodgson signed him from Maidstone United in 2008. The ball-playing centre half flourished under Hodgson’s influence at Craven Cottage, breaking into the first team as a teenager and not looking out of place when he stepped into alongside either Brede Hangeland or Aaron Hughes at the back. He made nineteen appearances in total, helping the Whites reach the Europa League final, before joining Manchester United for £11.5m in July 2010.

Smalling, who has made more than 300 appearances for United, would represent the sort of experienced Premier League defender that Scott Parker wants to build his defence around as Fulham attempt to avoid the mistakes that plagued their last season in the top flight. Whether the defender would consider rejoining the club that gave him his first shot in senior football is still an unknown, although Smalling is eager for regular first-team football having been dropped by England boss Gareth Southgate in November 2017.