Chris Smalling has joined AS Roma on a season-long loan deal, Manchester United have officially confirmed.
The Serie A side have paid £2.7million to bring in the 29-year-old for 12 months.
Smalling has spent nine seasons at Old Trafford since a £10m move from Fulham in 2010 and has made over 200 appearances.
He played 24 times in the Premier League last season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
But the England international had been excluded from the 18-man match-day squad for all of United’s squads so far this season.
That’s after the Red Devils broke the world transfer record for a defender to bring Harry Maguire in from Leicester City for £80m.
Smalling’s compatriot has been paired with Victor Lindelof in all of United’s matches so far with Axel Tuanzebe an unused substitute for all of those matches and Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo both in reserve.
Speaking about Smalling’s move on Friday afternoon, Solskjaer said: “It’s just come up the last couple of days, this opportunity for Chris and we’ve sat down yesterday and discussed it.
“At the moment we have six fit centre-backs and I couldn’t promise Chris regular football and he’s on the plane over now. I think he’ll enjoy the experience over there.
“It’s a good club, a big league. There aren’t many English players who have had the chance to play in Italy and I’m sure he will come back stronger and better for it.”
Smalling’s departure follows the Norwegian manager’s decision to allow Alexis Sanchez to join Inter Milan on loan.
The Chilean joins up with Romelu Lukaku, who left United to move to the San Siro for £73million earlier this month, with United subsidising around £6m of Sanchez’s wages as part of the deal.
Solskjaer explained: “I think Alexis [Sanchez] needed to go because he’s been here for 18 months and it’s not really worked out for him.
“For him as well to restart and get himself playing regularly, get himself scoring goals, that will only benefit everyone in the end.
“For us we are going to watch every weekend now to see Alexis and Romelu [Lukaku] playing together.”
The deal for Sanchez does not include an option for Inter to buy the player, with United seemingly hoping the former Arsenal and Barcelona attacker will regain the form he showed before moving to Manchester so they can recoup a significant fee.
Sanchez has scored just five goals in 45 games for United since moving from Arsenal in January 2018 as part of a swap deal for Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
His departure does however leave United short of attacking options, with Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood their only available No 9s.
Martial, meanwhile, misses tomorrow’s trip to Southampton (12.30pm) with a thigh injury. Left-back Luke Shaw is also absent with a hamstring problem.