Stats: Jones, Smalling or Evans - who deserves new deals at Manchester United?

All three defenders are out of contract the summer after next and the club are reportedly waiting on Louis van Gaal's word before offering them new deals.

Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans will all have just one year left on their Manchester United contracts as of next season.

Recent reports, meanwhile, suggest the club are waiting on manager Louis van Gaal's word before offering them new deals.

But, with United's defence far from impressing over the last season or so, could this provide the perfect opportunity to reshape their back line?

Indeed, United supporters have been calling for a new defender for quite some time, with Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar and, more glamorously, Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels linked with a move to Old Trafford this summer.

Neither transfer has materialised but United could plan ahead with three of their centre-backs' contracts expiring in 2016.

Jones, Smalling and Evans are still relatively young, however, so could United instead persist with the trio?

  Tackles WonEffective ClearancesInterceptions WonAerial Duels WonErrors Leading to a GoalAppearancesMins Played
Phil Jones 54 167 72 60 0 29 2,444
Chris Smalling 33 187 30 70 1 27 2,072
Jonny Evans 19 141 26 36 2 18 1,467

One way of differentiating between them is a statistical analysis of their Premier League form last season - and so far this term.

And, based on Opta stats, Phil Jones - also the youngest of the three - is the man who comes out on top out of the trio. The 22-year-old has been selected more often by David Moyes and Van Gaal, while he has won more tackles, far more interceptions and not made an error leading to a goal.

Evans, by contrast, comes off worst of the defenders in four key areas. The 26-year-old has been played less often but has still managed more costly errors, though his average number of interceptions and clearances per game are superior to Smalling's.

Smalling himself, meanwhile, is somewhere in the middle. He comes out on top in terms of aerial duels won and effective clearances but has struggled compared to Jones in terms of interceptions and tackles won.

Were any contract decisions based on stats, then, Jones would be the likeliest of the three to be offered a new deal. The England defender has been the subject of criticism lately but, at 22, he is the most likely to be moulded into a better player.

Smalling may, too, merit a new deal, although a Hummels-type centre-back could be considered a necessary upgrade. Based on statistics, though, it is Evans who has the most to worry about.

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