Phil Jones and Sergio Romero are not in Manchester United’s Premier League or Champions League squads.

The pair are in danger of being forgotten men at Old Trafford and it is likely both will be looking for a move in January.

At his pre-match press conference ahead of facing Arsenal on Sunday, which was shown on the Manchester United app, Solskjaer was asked about the pair.

He gave an update on the fitness and training schedules of the duo, and perhaps there was a message to be read between the lines on Jones.

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Romero started training this week

On Romero, Solskjaer said: “Sergio has just come back into training this week, so he’s started his pre-season work and is working to get to his peak fitness with the goalkeepers.”

As soon as Dean Henderson was brought back to challenge David de Gea, Romero’s days at United looked numbered.

The Argentine has been a great servant to the club and that should have earned him a dignified summer departure, in order to get regular football.

Instead, he has had an extended summer break, which has put him way behind the rest of the squad in terms of fitness, if he is only starting his ‘pre-season’ work now.

In all likelihood, he is trying to get himself in shape for a January move elsewhere.

The big issue is not many clubs are in the market for goalkeepers mid-season; they’ve usually got their situation between the sticks sorted prior to the start of a campaign.

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Solskjaer stops short

On Jones, Solskjaer added: “Phil has been injured and had an operation and working really hard to be back, hopefully he’ll get fit in… December.

 

“When you’re injured you can’t get into the squad, he’s working really diligently and he’ll be coming back soon.”

To watch the video of Solskjaer’s comments, it looked like he had to stop himself basically saying Jones will be fit in time for the January window, when he can be offloaded.

Perhaps Jones could target the EFL Cup match at Everton in late December as a final chance to prove his fitness.

But in all likelihood, it seems that would be putting himself in the shop window for potential suitors, as opposed to resurrecting his United career.

Imperfect transfer strategy

The continued presence of Romero and Jones at the club underlines United’s inefficiency when it comes to removing deadwood from the wage bill.

In the case of Jones, the fact he had an operation made it hard in the summer, but if Solskjaer’s timescale is correct, there is the scope to offload him in January once fit.

Romero needs either a loan or a permanent move away to get the games he is simply not going to get any more at Old Trafford.

The only potential reprieve would be if de Gea or Henderson were injured for any length of time between now and the winter window.

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