Newcastle or Fulham will have to pay £20 million to sign Phil Jones from Manchester United in January, even if the England international has fallen well down the pecking order, according to the Sun.
It sums up the way Jones’ career has gone at Old Trafford that, ahead of Tuesday’s 2-1 Champions League triumph at Paris Saint-Germain, his name was entirely absent from any pre-match discussion.
One of Sir Alex Ferguson’s final signings would, once upon a lifetime, have been a guaranteed starter in a crucial European clash.
But, after being left out of Ole Gunnar Solkjaer’s European roster for 2020/21, Jones’ once-promising United career looks destined to end with a whimper.
And when you add in the fact that he has not kicked a ball in any competition this season, the £20 million price-tag slapped on his head feels nothing short of a liberty.
That would actually see United make a £4 million profit on a player who joined as a muscle-bound teenager all the way back in 2011.
Steve Bruce has prioritised proven, experienced Premier League talent at St James’ Park and the 28-year-old, who would offer some much-needed competition at centre-half, fits the bill nicely alongside new recruits Jeff Hendrick, Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser.
The Sun adds that Fulham were also keen on the £100,000-a-week forgotten man.
Yet the recent arrivals of Joachim Andersen, Terence Kongolo and Tosin Adarabioyo have given Scott Parker’s struggling side a dash of defensive depth.