Manchester United are reportedly ready to offer defender Phil Jones a new long term contract to stay at the club.
The versatile defender has been criticised following United’s opening Premier League defeat of the season but with time running out in the transfer window and a lengthy injury list, Jones will be a key player for United over the course of this season.
The new deal, which will reportedly be worth £75,000 per week, opens up several questions relating to him, the manager and the way the team is going to play over the coming months.
Here are three key questions as well as initial reaction from Manchester United fans.
What does it mean for United’s transfer plans?
United have been linked with centre-back additions throughout the summer with the likes of Mats Hummels and Thomas Vermaelen connected with Old Trafford moves before Hummels was made Dortmund captain and Vermaelen went to Barcelona.
There is still time left for Louis van Gaal to sign another centre-back but he showed with his team selection against Swansea that when possible, Jones is likely to be one of his main central defenders.
Where will he play?
It’s unclear at the moment but predominantly in the middle of the backline. One of the reasons for Jones’ inconsistency could be the fact that he has been used in so many different roles in his United career.
Whether van Gaal uses him in a right wing-back role or as a central defender, it’s important he settles in one place to get used to that job.
Does he deserve it?
Some fans will argue that Jones hasn’t produced his best form since he moved to the club from Blackburn, which relates back to that inconsistency. A new deal could be aimed at keeping other sides from poaching him away before he gets to a point where he’s allowed to settle in a single position.
He is very much a team player and has been rewarded for his Manchester United performances with England caps. However, a new deal will put extra pressure onto his shoulders to perform and then it’s down to him to justify why he deserves any new contract.
Here’s what United fans have had to say on the matter.
Football gone mad Phil jones new contract 75k a week madness— Ryan Parker (@RyanParker1976) August 21, 2014
Just heard @ManUtd are planning to offer Phil Jones a new contract and am like yeah, that's a good move der by the club. Well deserved— MUFC (@ItsBentip) August 21, 2014
Phil jones to be offered a bumper new contract??! How? Contracts given out like sweets— James Mepham (@James_Meps) August 21, 2014
Yes only Phil Jones deserves a new contract.— IFY (@Itz_MissIFY) August 21, 2014