Manchester United willing to sell Phil Jones with Newcastle interested
According to a report by 90min (h/t Manchester Evening News), Newcastle United are interested in Manchester United defender, Phil Jones. The club is open to the idea of letting the Englishman leave on a free transfer this summer as they look to free their wage bill. Jones still has two years left on his contract at Old Trafford.
The report adds that Magpies’ manager, Steve Bruce, is an admirer of the former Blackburn Rovers centre-back. Jones joined United from the Lancashire-based side ten years ago in the summer of 2011. Since then, he has had a roller-coaster ride with the Red Devils’ team. But can United afford to let the 29-year-old leave permanently this summer?
Man United don’t have any need for Phil Jones
As harsh as it sounds, United don’t need Phil Jones anymore. That has actually been the case for some time now, with the Englishman far removed from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-team plans. He didn’t play a single match in the 2020/21 season, with his last appearance coming in January 2020 against Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup.
The Red Devils have enough centre-backs at the club right now and fared just fine without Jones last season. Harry Maguire is the ever-present name in their defensive line, while Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof rotated to share game-time besides their 28-year-old captain. The trio is also tied to long-term contracts at United.
Lindelof and Bailly, both 27, have three years left on their deal that expires in 2024, while the Englishman Maguire’s deal runs until 2025. They also have 23-year-old Axel Tuanzebe in their ranks, who can do a job for them in defence this season. Amid this, there is hardly any space for Jones, especially when the four of them keep fit.
Not to mention, Jones is out of touch with first-team football having not played in over 18 months for the club’s senior side. His latest long-term knee injury was also one of the many fitness issues he has suffered during his time at last season’s Premier League runners-up. In light of this, United should look to finally part ways with the Englishman.
The impending arrival of Raphael Varane
The Guardian notes that United have agreed on a £42.7m transfer fee with Real Madrid for their defender, Raphael Varane. The 28-year-old France international is set to have his medical in the coming days and is expected to join Solskjaer’s side for next season. Given Varane’s status as a serial winner at Madrid, he would undoubtedly be a starter at the club.
This could push Bailly and Lindelof further down the pecking order, which means Jones’ role would become almost nugatory at the club. This is where John Mortough and Ed Woodward should make a call on Jones’ future and look for suitors in order to offload him. The aforementioned report by 90min (h/t Manchester Evening News) states United are willing to let him go on a free.
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While that would mean a loss on the potential £17m they agreed to pay Blackburn a decade ago, it would mean freeing up some significant cash from their wage bill. Mirror reports that Jones is on an approximate £100,000-a-week wage packet. Seeing that figure diminish from the books would go a long way in helping them meet the salary demands of any potential incomings in the summer.