New West Brom boss Sam Allardyce has it all to do in January if he’s to turn around the sinking Baggies ship this season, though he may be about to resolve one of their biggest problems in one fell swoop…
According to the Daily Star, out-of-favour Manchester United defender Phil Jones is a target for the struggling Midlands outfit next month.
It’s claimed that the Red Devils are even willing to pay a ‘considerable portion’ of his whopping £120k-per-week wages in order to get him off the books at Old Trafford.
Albion manager Big Sam is targeting a new centre-back as his number one priority, as per the report, and knows Jones well from a stint at Blackburn Rovers in 2009/10.
The Baggies’ summer activity was nothing short of a shambles as Slaven Bilic failed to secure experienced heads in the backline, and a move for the 28-year-old would certainly resolve that.
After Ahmed Hegazi was sold in October, the Croatian was left with players who have either never cut it or have never played in the top-flight. Indeed, the only centre-back they signed was Cedric Kipre from then-Championship strugglers Wigan Athletic.
Yes, they signed a 36-year-old Branislav Ivanovic, but it’s clear to see he’s done and dusted unlike Thiago Silva as his former club, Chelsea.
The Athletic claim he even rejected the chance to sign Shane Duffy, who has since gone to Celtic and already clinched a trophy. A decision that has proven to be a disaster already – the Midlands outfit rank second-worst for goals conceded so far this season.
Allardyce desperately needs a fresh figure in a defence that leaks two goals per game on average.
The United outcast has won a Premier League, Europa League and an FA Cup, and has also racked up 200 appearances in the English top-flight.
Big Sam once touted Jones to become England captain one day back in 2011, he said:
“I was never in doubt that he was going to make it. He is already growing into what I consider to be a leader. When he gets more experience he will be able to control his team-mates and eventually he will wear the armband for England. It’s a lot to ask of such a young man but he has the all-round outstanding ability to be a very top player.”
Whilst ex-United boss Louis van Gaal emphasised his versatile nature, after offering him a new contract, he claimed: “Phil is a talented footballer with great versatility.”
Even Jose Mourinho was a fan, dubbing the Englishman the ‘ideal’ defender, suggesting he’s “everything I like in a central defender.”
Yet he finds himself hugely out-of-favour under Ole Gunnar Solksjaer despite their defensive frailties, so a new start at the Hawthorns could be exactly what both Jones and Albion need.
AND in other news, Dowling heading for a familiar mistake as HUGE club eye Baggies sensation…