Transfer Balls: Arsenal, Manchester United and a ‘row’ over Phil Jones
The narrative that Manchester Untied boss Jose Mourinho and Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger are not best pals backs the Standard’s story: “Manchester United to snub Phil Jones bid as Jose Mourinho refuses to do business with Arsene Wenger.”
The paper says Arsenal are “believed” to have enquired about Jones, 24, as they search for a central defender.
Jones’ career has stalled since he was being hailed as the new Duncan Edwards. In 2011 the Manchester Evening News wrote: “When no less a judge than Sir Bobby Charlton talks about the striking similarities between Phil Jones and the late, great Duncan Edwards, you know United have secured a special talent.”
Jones is now a United squad player. There is no proof that Arsenal want him. The Standard says the Gunners first pick is Skhodran Mustafi, available for the a mere £43m from Valencia. It’s an absurd amount of money for a very good but far from brilliant player.
As for Jones, well:
Mourinho is already under pressure to trim a bloated squad having made four summer signings and the arrival of Fonte would place further scrutiny on Jones’ position, having become a peripheral figure since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
In April of that year, Ferguson made the remarkable claim that Jones could become the best player in United’s history but although he has started 58 Premier League games in the subsequent three seasons, he has not featured since January through injury and Mourinho has since signed centre-back Eric Bailly for £30m from Villarreal.
So what next for Jones?
Standard Sport understands Mourinho will not sanction the sale of Jones to his bitter rival, even if he is not central to his plans for the season ahead.
The story is total balls, then. Mourinho has not said he won’t sanction any sale because he loathes Arsene Wenger. Mourinho has said nothing. Arsenal have made no bid for Jones. The Standard has produced a story from dust. But other news sources are keen to pick up unchallenged:
Man Utd news: Phil Jones was not allowed to leave for Arsenal because of Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho’s feud – Metro
Football transfer rumours: Arsenal to sign Phil Jones from Manchester United? – Guardian
The Guardian adds:
José Mourinho needs to sign the extra defender that he wants for Manchester United. Except the urge to act vindictively is so strong, and the opportunity to act vindictively is so available, so Mourinho has decided to do what he does best, refusing to sell a player to Arsène Wenger, even though he’s not bothered about having him.
That would be the same Guardian that just two days ago reported: “Phil Jones is content to stay at Manchester United, and José Mourinho has no desire to see him leave, despite Stoke City being the latest club to express an interest.”
From being loyal to his player, Mourinho is now “vindictive”.
As we marvel at that, the Mail says: “Manchester United defender Phil Jones could depart for Stoke.”
But he won’t do because the Sun said back in June: “Jose Mourinho tells Phil Jones he has a future at Manchester United and wants defender to become club’s own version of John Terry.”
No hint of spite. Mourinho just wants a talented player to stay and work hard for the team.
As for Arsenal making a move for Jones, well the Mail also said: “Manchester United have told interested clubs that Phil Jones will stay at Old Trafford. Stoke, Watford and Hull City are among around a dozen clubs to have made enquiries for the 24-year-old”.
No mention of Arsenal. And we are left to wonder if Mourinho hates Mark Hughes and the manager’s of all those clubs he won’t let Jones join?
More transfer balls every day.