Phil Jones has reportedly been informed that he is Jose Mourinho’s first-choice central defender alongside Chris Smalling despite starting just six Premier League games last season.
The former Blackburn centre-half has struggled with a succession of injuries but – according to The Guardian – he will usurp Daley Blind, whose only chance of a future at the club may be as a back-up central midfielder.
This new report suggests that £32m centre-half Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo (who can think himself lucky to have any future at all) will act as deputies to Smalling and Jones, with Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw earmarked for the full-back berths. Hyphen fans Timothy Fosu‑Mensah and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson will provide cover at full-back.
The Guardian’s Manchester correspondent Jamie Jackson also writes that prospective signing Paul Pogna ‘would partner either Michael Carrick, after Mourinho handed the midfielder a fresh one-year deal, or Bastian Schweinsteiger, who impressed for Germany at Euro 2016. Morgan Schneiderlin appears to be a reserve, at best’.
The front four could pick itself with Anthony Martial, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic forming a pretty formidable unit.