Newcastle United are reportedly one of thirteen clubs interested in signing Manchester United defender Phil Jones during the January transfer window.

According to a report from The Sun, Newcastle United are allegedly among a slew of clubs interested in signing Manchester United outcast Phil Jones, despite him having not played a single minute of professional football in almost two years.

Phil Jones is drawing attention from a host of Championship and Premier League clubs, including Watford, Derby County and Newcastle United, ahead of a potential January exit from Manchester United. The 29-year-old defender has had a nightmare with a major knee injury and hasn’t featured for United since a FA Cup clash at Tranmere Rovers in January of last year.

Jones joined Manchester United in the summer of 2011 from Blackburn Rovers in a deal worth £17.5 million. Regarded as a future captain by then-manager and club icon Sir Alex Ferguson, Jones’ United career has been decimated by horrific injuries, and he is yet to fulfil his potential at Old Trafford.

In total, Jones has made 224 appearances for Manchester United, netted six goals and assisted a further 10 goals. However, the 27-time capped England international has not featured in over 22 months due to fitness issues. The report claims that the Red Devils received numerous loan enquiries for Jones in the summer transfer window, despite being still in the early stages of his recovery.

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A January approach from the player’s suitors is expected, with the defender close to full fitness having appeared for Man United U-23’s on several occasions. Solskjaer has been impressed with Jones’ enthusiasm in training since he returned from his recent knee injury, and he would like to see him play more often in order for him to gain match fitness.

With Raphael Varane out for at least a month following a hamstring injury, ongoing concerns about Victor Lindelof’s general fitness and Solskjaer shifting to a back-three, Jones might find himself playing a role for Manchester United as the tight fixture schedule unfolds.

Newcastle are one of the worst defensive sides in the Premier League and have recently been shipping goals all over the place. That is shown by the fact that they have conceded 24 goals – the second-worst record in the league this season. They are in desperate need of defensive reinforcements to sort out their issues at the back.

However, their links with a move for Jones come as a surprise. Following their multi-million pound takeover, with the injection of cash under the new ownership, they should aim for a defender of higher quality. That is no disrespect to Jones, who can well resurrect his career and prove to be a decent signing.

But can the Magpies truly rely on an injury-prone defender, who has not played for almost two years, to drag them out of relegation muddle? And with Jones commanding a hefty £130,000-a-week wage packet, Newcastle may well spend their money more wisely. They have recently been linked with a move for Burnley defender James Tarkowski, and he would be a more sensible targetthan Jones.

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