Southampton Transfer News: Saints eye Premier League-winning defender - The Verdict

Southampton target Phil Jones in action for Man United

Southampton could make a move to sign Manchester United defender Phil Jones, as revealed by 90min.

The 29-year-old is attracting interest from several Premier League clubs this summer, despite failing to play a single minute in England's top-flight last term due to a knee injury.

He has spent the last decade at Old Trafford, and still has two years remaining on his contract, but the 13-time Premier League champions are reportedly happy to let him go for free in the current transfer window, as he appears to have been deemed surplus to requirements moving forwards.

Southampton are one of the teams who are reportedly monitoring Jones, and they could now be tempted to step up their interest given that he could be available for a move to St Mary's without the South Coast club having to spend any money.

If they do land Jones, would he be a good signing?

GIVEMESPORT's Sam Brookes, Christy Malyan and Joshua Cole give their views below...

Sam Brookes

"Jones's fitness record in the last two seasons has been nothing short of horrendous. He's only managed to play two league matches during this period. Is he really going to be able to flourish at Southampton after such a lengthy spell on the sidelines? I seriously doubt it.

"He has shown in the past that he can be a classy operator, having won the Premier League at United and received 27 caps for his country. However, those days appear to be behind him now, and he has not shown anywhere near his best form in recent years.

"Southampton finished the 2020/21 season poorly as they lost 15 of their last 21 league matches. They need to bring in players who can lift the atmosphere at the club, not an injury-prone defender who must be lacking match sharpness. Even though he could be available on a free, Jones is not the right player for the Saints right now. Avoid this move."

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Christy Malyan

"There will obviously be concerns over Southampton signing a 29-year-old who has only made 17 Premier League starts in the last three seasons and plummeted an almighty way since his days as an England regular.

"But there is something about the way Manchester United not only coach their players but also raise them that often makes them such valuable assets for clubs a little lower down the table. Throughout the years there have been some great examples of this - Phil Neville, who quickly established himself as David Moyes' Everton captain after leaving Old Trafford, Darren Fletcher, who was hailed as a massive influence at West Brom by Tony Pulis, and John O'Shea, who became the backbone of Sunderland's defence for six straight Premier League seasons.

"Now, it must be mentioned that all of these players featured prominently for their respective clubs after leaving United, and it's not clear whether Jones is capable of that bearing in mind his injury history. But it also shouldn't be forgotten that Fletcher spent around three-and-a-half years in the wilderness due to health reasons before before making 38 appearances in two consecutive seasons for the Baggies.

"Likewise, Pulis' analysis of Fletcher tells the bigger story of why Jones could be such a smart signing for Saints: 'He’s got such a great attitude and it’s been wonderful for some of the kids to just see how he goes about things... He’s been brought up by Sir Alex so he’s got wonderful standards. He does everything right from getting in early, eating properly and living his life properly. He is a fantastic guy and a tremendous professional.'

"And that is what ex-United stars can offer clubs like Southampton - a reference point for the level of professionalism and commitment required to really make it to the top of the game. For a club that has traditionally always brought in young, emerging talents before developing them further and selling at a profit, having someone like Jones around could be a major asset in that respect, even if keeping fit may well continue to be an issue for him."

Joshua Cole

"Although it is abundantly clear that Southampton need to make some alterations to their defence this summer after conceding 68 goals in the Premier League last season, a move for Phil Jones may turn out to be a major error.

"Whilst the defender does possess a wealth of experience at this level having made 200 top-flight appearances during his career, his inability to stay fit in recent years is a major concern.

"Having missed the entirety of the previous campaign due to injury, there is no guarantee that the defender will be an upgrade on the likes of Jan Bednarek and Jannik Vestergaard.

"Instead of taking a major risk on a player who has been forced to watch on from the sidelines for a prolonged period, Southampton ought to switch their focus to drafting up a list of replacements for Danny Ings who recently rejected a new contract and is currently attracting interest from Tottenham Hotspur."

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