Manchester United centre-back pair Eric Bailly and Phil Jones have reportedly told their teammates they plan to leave the club this summer.
Bailly has started five games all season and has openly questioned the positions of underperforming temmates, with Harry Maguire bearing the brunt of the 27-year-old’s frustration.
Phil Jones meanwhile has started just two games in two years having recovered from a chronic knee injury.
The Englishman has remained fit for the majority of the season, and despite moving above Bailly in the centre-back pecking order, is ready to leave with the Ivorian as United step up their search for new defenders.
That’s according to the Manchester Evening News, who claim that United accept that it was a mistake to hand Bailly a new three-year contract last year when his previous deal ran out this summer.
Club sources have pointed to former chief Ed Woodward’s strategy – where he would tie down peripheral players on longer deals to increase their resale value – as the reason for their predicament.
United have held exploratory talks with Chelsea star Antonio Rudiger over a move to Stamford Bridge, but the Germany international looks set for Real Madrid when his contract expires this summer.
Villarreal’s Pau Torres is another name frequently linked with a move to Old Trafford, and MEN claim United ‘remain interested’ in the 25-year-old, though other reports suggest they will face competition from a number of other suitors, including Chelsea and Tottenham.
Meanwhile, Phil Neville claims sacking David Moyes was “one of the biggest mistakes” United have made since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013.
“If you look back now, it was totally wrong the lack of time he was given, totally wrong,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“The lack of time, the lack of backing, the lack of investment that other managers have had…
“That’s the biggest thing. When we both left the club, we both needed another season, we both deserved another season.
“Ten months at Manchester United in a difficult period when the greatest manager of all time had just left wasn’t enough.
“Moyes had unbelievable plans to take the club forward in that summer. I’d say that was one of the biggest mistakes United made, not giving Moyes more time.
“He’s proven now at West Ham that with time he can build a successful football club. It was one of my biggest disappointments in football when he was sacked by United.”