Newcastle manager Steve Bruce is an admirer of Manchester United defender Phil Jones but would prefer to take him on a free transfer rather than a loan, according to 90min.
Jones last played a Premier League match a full 18 months ago, having been sidelined for the entirety of the 2020/21 season with a knee injury, but he is a vastly experienced defender with exactly 200 top-flight games under his belt.
The Athletic‘s Chris Waugh reported earlier in July that signing a centre-back was one of Newcastle’s priorities this summer, and the prospective signing of Raphael Varane may well push Jones further down the pecking order at Old Trafford.
According to 90min, Manchester United are said to be ‘particularly eager’ to find a new club for Jones this summer, so they could waive their right to a transfer fee. Newcastle are one of ‘a number of clubs’ interested in the 29-year-old, with Bruce ‘convinced’ that the player can still deliver at the highest level.
The Toon would be reluctant to allocate one of their two domestic loan slots to Jones, and even if the 20-time champions are indeed ‘prepared to let… [him] leave on a free transfer’ the Red Devils may have to pay a portion of his £110,000-a-week wages.
To what extent would this deal be viewed as a risk? On the one hand, Newcastle may end up investing relatively little money in Jones.
On the other, if he is their only addition at centre-back, it’s a clear gamble. He will need to build back up to full match fitness, and even then there will be question marks over whether he can recapture his pre-injury levels given his record in that regard during his career.
The Magpies would be better off pursuing Jones’ team-mate Axel Tuanzebe, who Newcastle also like, if the money involved is reasonable.
In other news, this defensive midfielder wants to join Newcastle.
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