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Report: Man United plan to keep out-of-favour English defender despite signing Raphael Varane

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Phil Jones

Phil Jones could stay at Manchester United this season amidst exit links

According to the Daily Mail (h/t The Express), Phil Jones could have a role to play this season for Manchester United as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer plots a plan for the defender. 

Jones, who has not featured for United for nearly 18 months, returned from a horrific injury earlier this summer and joined the club during their pre-season training. 

The player has arguably fallen down the pecking order at United when Ole Gunnar Solskajer came into the job as the Norwegian preferred the likes of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof, while Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe acted as able backups. 

Jones was injured for 18 months

The Red Devils have also signed Raphael Varane from Real Madrid this summer and the Frenchman is expected to partner Harry Maguire in the backline. 

Thus, the initial plans were to sell Jones, although the defender was proving to be ‘unsellable’ for the club as there was nobody who would pay a transfer fee due to the defender’s long-term injury, according to the Manchester Evening News (h/t Daily Mail).

A move to West Ham United was also on the cards, as former United manager David Moyes was planning on reuniting with the 29-year-old at the London Stadium. However, things have not panned out that way, and Solskajer has now changed his plans about the defender. 

Jones could end up staying at United despite transfer rumours

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The Norwegian boss is ready to use the player as a fifth-choice centre-back this season. Given that Axel Tuanzebe has left the club on a loan move to Aston Villa, Solskajer does not want to have any shortage of players at any point of the season and would rather keep Jones as a ‘contingency’ than selling him.

Thus, Jones could have a future at the club this season, and the player might also not mind this role, especially since his contract runs with the club until 2023.