Phil Jones is not in the plans of Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho and is a shock target for Stoke, according to a report.
The Sun claims the “forgotten Man Utd centre-half” has no future at Old Trafford and that Stoke boss Mark Hughes is plotting a loan move for the 24-year-old.
Mourinho has signed Eric Bailly this summer and he has partnered Daley Blind at the heart of United’s defence in their first two Premier League games.
Blind was widely expected to leave Old Trafford this summer but has impressed boss Mourinho since returning for pre-season and his calmness and accurate distribution has complimented Bailly’s aggression.
Mourinho also has Chris Smalling avaailable after the England man returned to first-team action, replacing Wayne Rooney with a minute remaining against Southampton on Friday night.
Ther Portuguese boss is also believed to be chasing another centre-back with Saints star Jose Fonte widely believed to be his no. 1 target, leaving former Blackburn defender Jones out in the cold.
Jones has missed out on a place in the squad in United’s first two Premier League games and he was not involved in the Community Shield win over Leicester.
Suggestions that Jones is surplus to requirements will come as a shock to many as reports earlier this summer claimed Mourinho was set to give Jones assurances about his future at the club.
Goal claimed the Portuguese boss wass intent on keeping Jones, who signed a new four-year contract at Old Trafford in June 2015, at the club. And the Daily Mirror said in June that Mourinho wanted Jones to be like “John Terry was for him at Chelsea”.
But now Mourinho is set to allow Jones to leave on loan and Hughes is desperate to bolster his fragile defence, which conceded four goals against Man City on Saturday.
Jones only made six Premier League starts last season after suffering from a series of ankle problems and his last United appearance came on January 2.