Manchester United had a rather disappointing 2021/22 Premier League season despite ultimately finishing in a European place.
With 38 games played, the Red Devils won 16, drew ten and lost 12, scoring 57 goals and conceding 57 along the way.
To put that into perspective, United scored fewer goals than the likes of West Ham United and Leicester City and conceded more times than the likes of Brighton, Wolves and Burnley.
One figure that barely got a look in throughout this campaign was defender Phil Jones.
With just four league appearances to his name, the Englishman only completed the full 90 minutes on one occasion which came during United’s 1-0 defeat to Wolves at Old Trafford back in January.
Having been described as being “annihilated” by his injuries in the words of his former teammate Rio Ferdinand, the former United star also claimed that Jones should have been removed from the club a long time ago, dubbing him a “waste of time.”
Now that this dismal season has ended and the summer transfer window is around the corner, this could give the club the chance to finally get rid of the 30-year-old.
Should getting rid of Jones end up on Erik ten Hag’s to-do list for the summer, one figure that the club have been linked with recently that could be a suitable replacement for him is Alessandro Bastoni.
The 23-year-old joined Inter back in the 2017 summer transfer window from fellow Serie A side Atalanta. Since then he’s gone on to make 118 appearances for the club, chipping in with three goals and eight assists along the way.
To highlight his defensive capabilities, the £54m-rated centre-back ended the recent Serie A campaign in the top five of Inter’s squad for the average of tackles (1.4), interceptions (1.1), clearances (1.8) and blocks (0.4) made.
Labelled as a “phenomenon” by Serie A expert Conor Clancy, Bastoni clearly has the defensive talent to be a solid addition to United’s creaky backline.
If strengthening and refreshing the defence is going to be one of Ten Hag’s priorities for United this summer, then getting rid of Jones and bringing the Inter star to Old Trafford could be a good way to start.
However, with teams such as Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City reportedly having their eyes on Bastoni as well, this could be a big issue for the Red Devils as those two teams would be able to offer the centre-back the chance to play in the Champions League, which could then put United at a disadvantage.