Benfica set sights on Manchester United outcast who hasn’t played in 23 months

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In what could be one of the surprise moves of the January transfer window, Manchester United defender Phil Jones could be given a fresh start despite not playing in nearly two years. 

According to a report from the Daily Mail, Jones, 29, is wanted by Portuguese side Benfica who are after versatile options in defence as they look to get back to title winning ways in the Portuguese Primeira Liga table, having not won it for the past two seasons.

The Mail’s report indicates that Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick will allow players to leave in January in order to trim the squad down to a more suitable size, seeing as the squad is currently full to the brim and bloated with too many players who do not justify their wages.

While Jones has played 225 minutes for the United Under 23 team in Premier League 2 this season, his last appearance for the senior side came on January 26 2020 in a 6-1 FA Cup win against Tranmere Rovers, some 23 months ago.

Jones was once a solid defender for United after moving from Blackburn in 2011 as a teenager, making 94 of his 165 overall United Premier League appearances in his first four seasons with The Red Devils.

But now a more than a decade on from that transfer, Jones has become an outcast at United, plagued with continuous injuries that have ground the defender’s career to a halt.

Should Benfica place a bid, United would be likely to accept. And if Jones can regain his fitness and get his playing career back on track in a new environment then that is surely the best outcome for all parties.

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