Manchester United look primed to spend more money in defence in the summer, with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones reportedly set to be offloaded.
According to a report by Daily Mirror, the careers of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones at Manchester United seem to be coming to an end. The English duo could be offloaded in the coming summer transfer window, with Jose Mourinho eyeing possible replacement options.
Smalling and Jones joined Manchester United from Fulham and Blackburn Rovers in consecutive summer windows, and their journeys since at Old Trafford has been a roller coaster ride. Both defenders had initially been penciled as the long-term central defensive pairing by Sir Alex Ferguson, who had signed them.
But, over their long careers at Manchester United, neither has cemented his place in the first-team setup for consecutive seasons. Smalling enjoyed a fine 18-month run under Louis van Gaal, but has been in and out of the side under Jose Mourinho. Jones, on the other hand, has been more productive under the current manager.
This season, Smalling has slowly become a regular following the injury suffered by Eric Bailly, who has been sidelined for the last three months. The Englishman has partnered compatriot Jones at the heart of the Manchester United defence for the better part of the last couple of months, but cracks are beginning to appear in their partnership.
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While Jones has been greeted with positive words by Mourinho, he has been inconsistent in recent weeks, also scoring an own goal as Manchester United were humbled by Tottenham. Smalling was the culprit last weekend at Newcastle, who handed a shock defeat to Mourinho’s men.
Smalling’s dive saw Manchester United conceding the free-kick that ultimately led to Newcastle’s winner. And it looks like Mourinho has finally run out of patience, at least as far as Smalling is concerned.
The 28-year-old has just over a year remaining on his current Manchester United, the same as Jones, with no developments over a renewal. Mourinho already has Marcos Rojo and summer signing Victor Lindelof in addition to Bailly, who will return to action later this month.
With Harry Maguire as well as Raphael Varane among those that are reportedly being chased by Manchester United, Mourinho can definitely afford to lose either of Smalling or Jones, if not both the defenders in the summer.
The report though, specifically suggests that Smalling time is up, and it remains to be seen if Jones and his compatriot indeed end up departing from Old Trafford in the summer. What remains certain is that despite his side boasting the best defensive record, Mourinho is still unhappy with the performances at the back.