Jones positive about title hopes
Published 18/07/2015 | 13:07
Phil Jones is optimistic about Manchester United's chances of winning the Barclays Premier League this coming season.
United have been one of the busiest clubs in the transfer market this summer, signing four new players and offloading some dead wood.
Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Matteo Darmian and Morgan Schneiderlin have all arrived at Old Trafford in the close season and more signings could follow.
Jones and his team-mates fell 17 points short of league winners Chelsea last year, but with the new additions on board, the England defender feels the club are in a good position to challenge for the title this term.
"That's the aim (to win the league)," Jones said after United's pre-season victory over Club America in Seattle on Saturday morning.
"That's what we want to be able to do. We have the squad now to be able to do that and there is no reason why we can't."
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward confirmed he has a list of players he could bid for if manager Louis van Gaal feels further new faces are required to achieve that aim.
"Essentially there is [a physical list of names] because we track everything. That's what the scouting team does," said Woodward, who flew home on Saturday but will return to the United States for the third game of the tour against Barcelona in San Jose on July 25.
"It's relentless because you're immediately focused on the next [signing]."
If Woodward and Van Gaal get their way, Real Madrid centre-back Sergio Ramos will be the next man through the door at Old Trafford.
United are understood to be willing to do a swap deal for the defender in return for David de Gea, who has been linked with a move to the 10-time European champions.
Whether Real are still interested in De Gea remains to be seen, however, as the Spanish giants re-signed Espanyol keeper Kiko Casilla on Friday.
If Ramos does move to United, that will impact directly upon Jones, of course.
Van Gaal finally gave the former Blackburn defender a regular starting-place towards the end of last season alongside Chris Smalling, but he is not concerned about Ramos' potential arrival at Old Trafford.
"I have said that all along competition is healthy, it's good for players," the 23-year-old said when asked about the possible impact of a new centre-back.
"If one person is doing well it makes the other person do well and that is exactly what you need - especially at Man Utd.
"We are always going to sign top players.
"There is always that standard that you have got to reach and you have to maintain it. This is a top club.
"It's up to the manager who plays week-in week-out. I am just going to try to do my best and hopefully that will be good enough to cement a starting place."
The fact that United have signed two holding midfielders also reduces the likelihood of Jones being asked to play out of position.
"Thankfully we have signed a few midfielders so maybe you won't see me in there," the defender said with a chuckle.
The hard work will continue for the rest of the weekend before United fly to San Jose for the second leg of their tour, which begins with a match against San Jose Earthquakes at the Avaya Stadium on Tuesday.
"We are doing double sessions every day to make sure our fitness levels are at their peak ready for the start of the season," said Jones, who signed a new four-year contract at United last month.
"It's part and parcel of pre-season.
"This is what we come on tour for - to train in this humidify and climate and hopefully that will help us at the start of the season."