United latest: Piers Morgan chastises Smalling, Utd to miss out on £35m star

All the latest news and views from Manchester United including Chris Smalling backlash and the prospect of an alleged target joining Arsenal.

The biggest Manchester United story of the day - and arguably in the whole of football - was Chris Smalling's decision to dress-up, and be photographed, at a fancy-dress/costume party as a suicide bomber, later revealed to be a Jaeger-bomber, with empty bottles of the devil's juice strapped to his clobber, along with cans of Red Bull.

Arsenal fan and critic of many things United, Piers Morgan, was swift to chastise the costume.

When Morgan found that it was a Jaeger-bomber, that he apologised for any offence caused, he back-tracked slightly, saying that Smalling was slightly less stupid but still warranted firing for his defensive ability.

In a statement, Smalling's management company the Wasserman Media Group said: 'Chris and his girlfriend hosted a fancy dress party to celebrate Christmas and their belated birthdays with close friends in the assumed privacy of his own home.

'Although he fully accepts in hindsight it was an ill-thought out and insensitive decision, absolutely no harm was intended whatsoever and he apologises for any offence caused.'

On transfer news, Arsenal are the bookmakers' favourites to land an apparent target of United's; Diego Costa. Odds of Arsene Wenger acquiring the player are now 2/1, while United's are longer, at 9/1.

Costa, described by Wenger as 'an animal', has returned 19 goals from 17 La Liga starts thus far this season. He has also provided one assist.

And finally, while it appeared a £20m move Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio may be dead, the club are - according to Forza Italian Football - ready to negotiate on a player-plus-cash deal as long as winger Nani is involved.

image: © Gordon Flood

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