Manchester United's Phil Jones linked with January loan move to Benfica
Manchester United centre back Phil Jones has been linked with a surprise January loan move to Portuguese giants Benfica.
The 29-year-old is eager to secure first team football which recently prompted him to ask to be selected for United’s Premier League 2 clash against Chelsea.
However, following the Covid-19 outbreaks at both clubs, the clash which was due to take place on Friday (17 December) at Leigh Sports Village was postponed.
The Daily Mail are reporting that Jones, who hasn’t featured for the United first team for 23 months, could be set for a move to Portugal.
According to the Mail, the Portuguese side who were drawn against Ajax in the Champions League last-16, are looking to bring in a versatile defender on loan and that could suit Jones, as he looks to put himself in the shop window, following a period of inactivity.
The former England international has been on the bench in United’s last four Premier League games, but with Raphael Varane ready to return, Jones is unlikely to be included in upcoming matchday squads barring any injury or Covid-related issues resurfacing.
With Neil Wood’s under-23s side now embarking on a winter break and not scheduled to play until 10 January, Jones is unlikely to get any minutes any time soon.
His last appearance came for the under-23s in mid-October where he played 45 minutes against his former side Blackburn Rovers.
United’s number four hasn’t played a competitive game for the club since when he scored in the 6-1 FA Cup victory over Tranmere Rovers in January 2020.
However, Ralf Rangnick has been reportedly ‘impressed’ by Jones’ attitude in training and he would have likely played a part in the Champions League dead rubber against Young Boys, had he not been ineligible, following his exclusion from Manchester United’s Champions League squad.
With his contract at United running until 2023, Jones will be eager to secure first team football after being blighted with a long-term knee injury.
Due to the length of time he’s been out injured, clubs are unlikely going to risk signing Jones on a permanent deal before he has proved his fitness.
If Jones did move to Benfica, he could potentially line up alongside former Premier League defenders Nicolas Otamendi and Jan Vertonghen.
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