Tuesday 6 December 2016

Stoke City boss Mark Hughes confirms interest in Manchester United's Phil Jones

Tom Rooney

Published 25/08/2016 | 15:14

Manchester United's Phil Jones
Manchester United's Phil Jones

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes today revealed that the club have officially approached Manchester United regarding the availability of defender Phil Jones.

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Jones has been heavily linked with a move away from Old Trafford this summer following the arrival of Eric Bailly, as well as Jose Mourinho’s evident preference for Daley Blind and Chris Smalling.

It is thought Arsenal are interested in acquiring the 24-year-old but the London outfit have made no such confirmation.

However, speaking today ahead of his side’s clash against Everton, Hughes admitted that steps have been taken to lure the England international away from his former club.

"I can assure everyone we have been active in the market. It's one of those windows. It might go down to deadline day.

"We've talked about a lot of players, too many to list to be honest. Phil Jones is a player with good pedigree at a good club and sometimes you make an enquiry just to see where the land lies."

Jones was brought to United from Blackburn in 2011 and was heralded by Alex Ferguson and Bobby Charlton as a club legend in the making.

Jones’ stint at United has been a varied one, as a mixture of  injury, poor form and being deployed in a plethora of positions have subdued what was thought to be an unstoppable progression to an elite status.

Injuries and a preference for other options during Louis van Gaal’s tenure meant that Jones made just 37 appearances for the club over the past two seasons. Jones recently returned to full fitness after a horrific spell of injuries.

At present, Bailly, Blind and Smalling are well ahead of him in the pecking order and, with United said to be pursuing Southampton’s Jose Fonte, Jones’ prospects of playing with any regularity look slim.

However, it was recently reported that the club told him that he has a future at Old Trafford.

Furthermore, it has been mooted that United are happy to part ways with another defender, Marcos Rojo.

Stoke are without a win in their opening two league games, having drawn 1-1 with Middlesbrough before being defeated by 4-1 at the hands of Man City.

The Potters have also been mentioned as a possible loan destination for Liverpool centre half Mamadou Sakho.

After selling Ireland defender Marc Wilson to Bournemouth, an auxiliary defender for the campaign ahead appears a minimum requirement.

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