Phil Jones will sign a new contract with Manchester United later this week after the England international reached an agreement with the Red Devils.
This is according to the Daily Mail, who understand Jones will earn around £80,000-a-week once he puts pen-to-paper.
The 23-year-old’s future at Old Trafford was up in the air, following a less-than-convincing first campaign under Louis van Gaal, with his current deal set to expire at the end of next season. However, Van Gaal has opted to keep Jones, thanks in part to the defender’s useful versatility.
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That Jones can play at centre-back, right-back and as a holding midfielder appears to have convinced Van Gaal this is a player worth keeping hold of.
He becomes the second big-name centre-back to sign new terms with Manchester United after his teammate Chris Smalling agreed a new deal back in April.
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Jones' career has stagnated
It could be argued that Jones’ career has stagnated over the past few seasons. After all, this was the man once famously described by Sir Alex Ferguson as a naturally-gifted footballer with the potential to become the best player in Manchester United’s history.
Jones did look exceptional on occasions after joining the Red Devils from Blackburn Rovers in 2011, but a combination of untimely injuries and concentration issues have since hindered his development.
Were it not for his versatility, there’s every chance Van Gaal would have entered the transfer market for a permanent replacement and offloaded Jones to another club.
Van Gaal still expected to sign another centre-back
The Manchester United manager is still expected to sign another centre-back this summer - Mats Hummels, Nicolas Otamendi and now Sergio Ramos have all been strongly linked with a move to north west England in recent weeks - but Jones will still be part of Van Gaal’s squad for the 2015-16 campaign and beyond.
Rather than the world-class centre-back people initially believed Jones would develop into, the Preston-born defender is in danger of becoming a John O’Shea-type squad player.
Such players, of course, are extremely useful for a manager - but so much more was expected of Jones during his early days with Manchester United, when his lung-busting runs through the middle of the pitch drew generous comparisons with the great Duncan Edwards.
Manchester United fans: is Louis van Gaal right to hand a new £80,000-a-week contract to Phil Jones? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!
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