Roma working to purchase Smalling

Roma agreed a takeover and one of the first steps for new owner Dan Friedkin will reportedly be to bring Chris Smalling back from Manchester United.

The defender had been on loan, but the two clubs were unable to agree on a permanent fee or even an extension to the temporary stay for the Europa League campaign.

Since that decision was made, the club has changed over to a new patron, with Texan billionaire Friedkin agreeing to purchase Roma from James Pallotta.

According to multiple Italian reports, the first name on the agenda is Smalling.

Manchester United had refused to release the centre-back for under €20m plus bonuses, whereas the Roma offer only ever reached €14m plus bonuses.

Under new owners, who are ready to recapitalise and also clear the debt, Roma can afford to raise that.

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Lopetegui: ‘Sevilla deserved victory’

Julen Lopetegui maintains Sevilla deserve praise for dominating a ‘fantastic Roma team who have fantastic players’ in the Europa League.

It was one-way traffic in Duisburg for the Europa League Round of 16 tie, as Sergio Reguilon and Youssouf En-Nesyri got the goals for a 2-0 result, but it could easily have been more.

“We played against a fantastic team who have fantastic players,” the Sevilla coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“In my view, they have a great coach, but we deserved to win with an excellent performance, creating many scoring opportunities and never really suffering under pressure. We are happy.”

Sevilla go through to face Wolves or Olympiakos in the quarter-final, can they continue their extraordinary record in the Europa League with a fourth victory?

“We’ll have to wait and see. We must stay calm and recuperate so we can concentrate on the next match. All we’ve done so far is qualify for the next round.”

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Fonseca: ‘I’d make same Roma choices’

Paulo Fonseca insists he’d ‘make the same choices’ after the Europa League exit to Sevilla. ‘We have to look at reality, we lost to a team that at this moment is better.’

The Giallorossi were comprehensively out-played in Duisburg, as Sevilla won 2-0, hit the woodwork twice and had a goal narrowly ruled offside.

The dominance was evident in the statistics, with 10 shots on goal to zero, and 13 corners to three.

“I too am disappointed, but I have to say we deserved to lose. At this moment, Sevilla are a better team, they played better and we have to accept their superiority,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“We did all we could, but it was difficult to play against a team that right now is playing better. It’s easy right now to seek explanations for this moment.”

Edin Dzeko and Lorenzo Pellegrini were both very irritable in their post-match comments, suggesting the tactics were wrong and no changes were made even when it became evident that approach wasn’t working.

“I am the main person responsible, but we have to look at reality and the reality is that Sevilla are at this moment better,” continued Fonseca.

“I’d make the same choices again. The same. The team won almost every game in Serie A lately, we were doing well with this system and I had no reason to change.

“If I’d changed the system for this match, it would not have been a balanced approach. It’s difficult to accept, but we have to accept without excuses that we lost to a team that simply played better.”

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Pellegrini: ‘Very angry’ at Roma performance

Lorenzo Pellegrini could not hide his fury at Roma’s performance after the 2-0 defeat to Sevilla. ‘It’s best to reflect and think rather than do more damage by speaking.’

The Giallorossi were comprehensively out-played in the Europa League Round of 16 clash in Duisburg.

“Sevilla played a great game and we didn’t, so they deserved to go through and we did not,” confessed Pellegrini on Sky Sport Italia.

“I feel very angry right now, so perhaps it’s best to reflect and think rather than do more damage by speaking. We tried to build on what we had done lately in Serie A, but none of it worked.”

Pellegrini was a substitute, as he only had surgery last week on a fractured nose and was wearing a protective mask.

“Once I got on the pitch, I didn’t think about anything, but I am still struggling to breathe properly, even without the mask.”

The elimination arrives just hours after Roma announced Dan Friedkin’s takeover from James Pallotta.

“This was meant to be a release for us, to prove everything we hadn’t been able to prove so far this season. It has to be a fresh start for Roma with the new owner and we are sorry that we were unable to give him a victory today.”

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Jesus Navas: ‘Intense Sevilla-Roma’

Jesus Navas says Sevilla ‘know what is at stake’ in the Europa League and expect a ‘very intense match’ against Roma.

The Round of 16 is a one-off tie, kicking off on Thursday at 17.55 UK time (16.55 GMT) in Duisburg.

“We are happy to be here and know what is at stake. It’s going to be a difficult match, we’ll try to face it in the best possible way,” said the right-back in his press conference.

“We’ll give everything we’ve got to win the game and progress in the competition. We’re concentrated and know how important this is, because Roma are a strong side, so we expect a very intense match.”

Sevilla were personally affected by COVID-19 after midfielder Nemanja Gudelj tested positive last week.

“We are fine and in good shape, so just want to focus on the game.”

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