Manchester United shocked many of their fans on Friday afternoon when they announced Phil Jones had signed a new contract. The centre-back’s new deal will keep him at Old Trafford until 2023 and the Red Devils have an option year on his contract.
Jones is not the player he was when he joined Manchester United in 2011. In fact, it is fair to say he hasn’t reached the expectations bestowed upon him when he arrived from Blackburn Rovers.
Despite being an average centre-back right now, Manchester United re-signing Phil Jones was a smart move.
— Twitter Moments UK & Ireland (@UKMoments) February 8, 2019
Manchester United were smart to re-sign Phil Jones and here is the reason
Manchester United have seven players with expiring contracts. Add in Jones and Anthony Martial — who re-signed in January — and the Red Devils could have had nine players with ending contracts.
David De Gea, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Matteo Darmian, Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, and Andreas Pereira will also see their deals end in the summer.
Goalkeeper De Gea does have an option which has been activated, but the Red Devils are still scurrying to sign the Spaniard to a long-term deal. Darmian has also had his extension triggered and will stay until 2020.
Valencia likewise has an extension and Young is close to a new deal, according to reports. Mata and Herrera have been offered deals as well, but Pereira looks set to leave.
Giving Phil Jones a four-year contract is a smart move, should give Sunderland enough time to be in a position to sign him.
— Jonny Sharples (@JonnyGabriel) February 8, 2019
With so many contracts ending at once, Manchester United put themselves in a terrible predicament. Blame Ed Woodward or Jose Mourinho, but someone dropped the ball on player contracts.
It isn’t that Manchester United desperately need these players — other than De Gea — to compete for trophies, but losing so many senior players at once would have a detrimental effect on the team.
Remove De Gea, Mata, and Herrera from the side and it would cost Manchester United £100 million or more to find high-quality replacement players for all three.
Rather than losing several key players at all at once, the club must re-sign the players with expiring contracts as it would be too expensive to rebuild the team.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer already has holes and weak areas that need improving. But subtract a few veterans and those areas become even weaker.
Phil Jones to remain at Old Trafford
Re-signing Jones makes perfect sense even if fans aren’t happy. The Red Devils now have Jones, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Victor Lindelof, and Eric Bailly as centre-backs.
4 YEAR deal announcement for Phil Jones. Have to worry about the direction of the club with that sort of long-term planning #MUFC
— The United Stand (@UnitedStandMUFC) February 8, 2019
It isn’t a great group, but Smalling and Jones both receive new contracts this season. The move gives Solskjaer — if given the permanent job — the chance to finally move Bailly or Rojo and spend money on another defender for the future.
He could decide to keep his five centre-backs and make a go of it. Right now, there are a lot of questions regarding how much Manchester United will spend in the summer, which players they will target, and even those players will want to go to Old Trafford.
At least, the Red Devils are keeping veteran players despite looking not too long ago like those stars would leave for free.