Dimitar Berbatov highlights Man Utd transfer mistake after frustrating summer

Dimitar Berbatov feels Man Utd should have kept Chris Smalling at the club to help try and solve their defensive issues.

The 30-year-old completed a permanent switch back to Roma after an impressive spell on loan there last season.

United managed to raise £18million from Smalling's sale but did not reinvest in a new centre-back despite the shortcomings of their current crop.

Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly have all been criticised for their performances this season, as well as last, and Berbatov believes Smalling's departure could come back to bite his old club.

"The disappointment amongst United fans will be deeper now than it was in recent weeks even," Berbatov told Betfair . "I see they picked up [Edinson] Cavani and [Alex] Telles, and now the window is closed without signing a centre-back.

"I have said for weeks that I think they need a centre-back, and this is a show from Ole that he trusts the guys he has there already, but I feel like they should have signed someone.

"I wonder if they really should have kept even Chris Smalling, who has had a fabulous time at Roma, but often when you loan a player, it is a sign that they are done anyway."

Smalling made 37 appearances for Roma last season, helping them to a fifth-placed finish in Serie A.

The ex-England international was keen to return to Italy after his loan spell ended but reports claimed Roma only submitted the necessary documents just 60 seconds before the window shut.

He has since admitted he was concerned the deal was not going to go through, suggesting he would not have been happy to stay in Manchester.

"It's a massive, massive relief. I think that everyone knew I wanted to come back and to finally get it done, albeit so close to the deadline, it's just pure relief," Smalling told the official Roma website.

Were United right to sell Smalling? Have your say below.

"Now I can enjoy being back and then get straight back to it with the team tomorrow.

"I'm generally known as quite a calm guy but there were definitely times when I was just so up and down [emotionally]. Obviously, me knowing what I wanted to do but waiting for it to happen."

He added: "I am so happy to be here. I have been fighting hard to come back and finally we are reunited. I am ready to give my all, I can't wait to get going again!"

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