Should Manchester United cut their losses on Jones and Smalling?

Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have failed to progress at Manchester United, and at the start of a new era perhaps they should be moved on.

Louis Van Gaal is already stamping his mark on Manchester United and with his involvement with The Netherlands now complete, the preparation for the forthcoming campaign is expected to gather pace.

The Dutchman will be looking to strengthen all areas of a squad that struggled on all fronts last season. However perhaps the most significant area will be the defence. Luke Shaw has already been brought in for a whopping £30 million, and Patrice Evra may be on his way out following that acquisition. Juventus remain interested in the Frenchman despite him agreeing to a one-year-contract at the end of last season.

It is in the centre of defence where Van Gaal needs to turn his attention to. Long time servants Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have both departed and the backline desperately needs some experience. David De Gea is experienced for his age but could still do with some maturity ahead of him. Rafael and Shaw are both full-backs with plenty of potential and they look set to be given their chance this season. However in the central positions, a combination from Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling doesn't strike anyone with confidence.

Evans is the most experienced out of the trio and has improved in the last few year, however he has been prone to injury. He has played 69 Premier League games in the last three seasons and deserves to be handed a first-team spot in Van Gaal's side. However he needs a world-class centre-back alongside him as Jones and Smalling have not proved they are worthy of that yet.

Neither has progressed as expected when they made their moves from Blackburn Rovers and Fulham respectively. Neither club managers or national managers seem to be sure where their best positions are with both capable of playing at right-back as well.

Jones looked a great prospect at Rovers and his move to United didn't come as much of a surprise. Smalling however had barely featured for Fulham before he made a surprising £8 million move up north. It is Jones who has looked the most likely to establish himself at Old Trafford but his progress has stalled and he needs to decide which position to focus on.

Smalling does not look like a Manchester United player at all and he should be nowhere near the England squad either. His performances are lacklustre and he rarely shows any class in his displays.

In Jones' three years and Smalling's four at the club neither has shown anything to suggest they can take over from Vidic and Ferdinand for the next decade and perhaps United should sell them now before their value decreases further.

Manchester United need someone like Mats Hummels or Ron Vlaar to add some beef to their defence and either would make an immediate impact. They wouldn't take time adjust as they have both played on the big stages and Van Gaal needs that type of player to shore up the defence.


Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch