Manchester United centre-back Phil Jones has reportedly emerged as a summer transfer target for Everton manager Sam Allardyce.
Manchester United and England defender Phil Jones could be set for a reunion with former England and Blackburn manager and current Everton boss Sam Allardyce next season, according to a report from the Times.
It was Big Sam who handed Jones his debut back in 2009 and when the pair were at Blackburn Rovers and now the 63-year-old is keen on signing his former ward at Everton, if he stays as their manager beyond this season.
It is understood that the former England boss is keen to restructure his entire defence ahead of next season, if the club allow to see him out the final 12 months of his contract. With Ashley Williams and Michael Keane not convincing this season and veteran Phil Jagielka not getting any younger, Allardyce has identified Jones as the man to solidify the Toffees’ leaky backline.
The 26-year old Jones joined Manchester United from Blackburn in 2011 and had been tipped for great things by former manager Sir Alex Ferguson. However, constant injuries have meant that the defender has never been able to completely live up to the potential he had shown in his early days.
Currently in his seventh season with Manchester United, Jones has made 188 appearances, scoring five goals in the process, winning one Premier League title and one FA Cup along with the UEFA Europa League trophy last season.
In the ongoing campaign, Jones has once again been in and out of the starting line-up owing to injury troubles and till date has featured only 21 times across all competitions. Jones’ last appearance for the Red Devils this term came in the 1-0 loss to Newcastle United in February.
Jones’ contract with Manchester United expires at the end of the next season. However, the club do have the option of extending it further by a year, which they are likely to trigger irrespective of their plans for the player beyond the ongoing season, just to make sure they don’t end up losing him on the cheap.
The 24-time capped England international will find himself fighting for places with Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling and summer signing Victor Lindelof for a starting berth when he returns from injury, while Marcos Rojo will also be vying for the spot when he is fit again.
And amid rumours that manager Jose Mourinho is intent on strengthening his options at the back in the summer, Jones’ position in the United starting XI is far from secure.
Manchester United have been constantly linked with defensive reinforcements in the past few weeks, with Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti reportedly being Mourinho’s primary target.
Borussia Dortmund mainstay Sokratis Papastathopoulos too has been mooted as a possible option for the Mancunian outfit and the arrival of either of the two in the summer could severely limit Jones’ opportunities in the first team.
A move to Everton, however, is entirely dependent on whether Big Sam stays as the manager for the next season. The 63-year old has managed to guide the Merseysiders away from the threat of relegation after taking over from David Unsworth, but has been constantly criticized for the style of play.