Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has absolutely no intention of entertaining Arsenal's interest in Chris Smalling, even if it strong rumours of a £12 million summer offer do amount to anything.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is a long-term admirer of Smalling, even telling Van Gaal he wanted the England international included in a part-exchange deal for Thomas Vermaelen last summer.
Van Gaal snubbed that advance and will do exactly the same at the end of the season, with the Manchester Evening News reporting that Smalling has impressed the Dutchman with his attitude and application over the last six months.
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Smalling is staying put
United sources believe that Van Gaal was disappointed to have missed out on Vermaelen, the player he believed that could have played on the left side of his preferred three-man defence.
His logic not to use Smalling as a makeweight to get the deal done appears sound though, because Vermaelen is yet to play a single minute for Barca and his centre-back has featured consistently when fit all season long.
LVG still wants world-class defender
Smalling has started United's last four matches and in that time the Red Devils have conceded just a solitary goal, perhaps a sign that the 25-year-old is finally ready to silence his critics with a run of consistent form.
Against Liverpool last weekend the ex-Fulham defender was particularly impressive alongside Phil Jones, but Van Gaal still wants an established, world-class central defender for next season.
Mats Hummels, Nicolas Otamendi and Diego Godin are just some of the centre-backs linked with a move to Old Trafford, but even if Van Gaal spends big on a marquee defensive signing it looks like Smalling's place in his future plans is assured.
Man United fans, has Smalling done enough to justify Van Gaal's faith. Would you take £12m from Arsenal for the centre-back if offered.
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