Manchester United confirmed via manutd.com on Friday that they have handed a new long-term deal to defender Phil Jones, and it is a decision that could have big repercussions in Tottenham Hotspur’s bid to keep Toby Alderweireld at the club.
Tying Jones down means that United have him, Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof and Marcos Rojo as their centre-back options, and it remains to be seen whether they will look to get another.
Meanwhile, The Daily Mail reported as recently as last month that they will decide in the summer when they have appointed their new manager whether they will look to pay Alderweireld’s release clause, with Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly another potential target.
It certainly could be, as it is surely one of the options that may have appealed to the Belgian the most.
Spurs triggered the option to extend his deal until 2020 last month – even if it meant they could potentially lose him for £25m in the summer.
Alderweireld is getting no younger given he turns 30 years of age next month however, and United handing a new deal to Jones could be a sign that they are ready to turn their back on a move for the Belgium international, given they also have good prospects in Lindelof and Bailly on their books.
The reported £25m release clause will still probably tempt plenty of top clubs, but Man United are one of those teams that have a big pulling power, and if they aren’t in the race then Spurs will feel a lot more confident about keeping one of their star men in north London.
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