Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces a difficult decision over how he deals with Manchester United defender Phil Jones in the coming weeks and months – with the Red Devils reportedly open to selling him this summer.
What’s the word?
According to ESPN, United could look to sell Jones on one condition, with Solskjaer seeking to bolster his defensive options before the start of the new season.
Jones has long been linked with the Old Trafford exit, and several clubs have looked at him closely, including Premier League strugglers West Brom, who wanted him to shore up their leaky defence during the winter window.
Should Man Utd sell Phil Jones?
The former England international is just the latest player tipped to be on the move in the next summer market as Solskjaer has already started to clear out the deadwood by selling Timothy Fosu-Mensah to Bayer Leverkusen for a mere £1.8m fee.
With the emergence of academy graduate Axel Tuanzebe, Jones has been relegated to fourth choice this season.
The 28-year-old, who is currently valued at £5m via Transfermarkt, has not played for United since January 2020 after a string of injuries and has spent the entire time up until now working his way back to fitness.
He had attracted interest from several clubs across the country in the hope of a possible move in January earlier this year, but in the end, nothing materialised, and on £75k-per-week, it might be hard to offload him without forcing him to take a drastic pay cut.
However, fitness issues aside, it’s become increasingly apparent that Jones simply isn’t up to the standards required at Old Trafford.
Whilst it could be argued that injuries have meant he has never been able to reach his full potential, having been tipped for greatness by Sir Alex Ferguson himself.
In his last season alone, the versatile defender, who has played in the centre, in the midfield and on the right in his career so far, averaged just one tackle and one interception per 90 in the Premier League, via WhoScored.
Solskjaer will also be well aware that Jones needs to be playing regularly to attract any potential suitors in the summer, which could prove to be a stumbling block unless he can make a full recovery from injury.
Should he recover from injury, there will be a dilemma over giving him any game time at all and whether that’s a good idea right now still remains to be seen with the Red Devils in hot pursuit of both domestic and European success.
There’s nothing to suggest that the unseen Englishman could bolster their current defensive issues.