Reported Derby County and Middlesbrough target Phil Jones was once tipped to become Manchester United’s greatest player by Sir Alex Ferguson [The Sun].

The former United boss signed Jones from Blackburn Rovers for £17 million in 2011.

Jones made a big impression during his earlier days at Old Trafford. His versatility saw him feature as a centre-back, full-back and holding midfielder.

Manchester City v Manchester United - Carabao Cup: Semi Final
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In Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season in charge in 2012-13, Jones helped United win the Premier League title prompting the Scot to hand him unbelievable praise.

Jones, arguably the way he is looking, could be our best ever player. I think Jones may be one of the best players we have ever had, not matter where we play him. At 21 years of age, he is going to be a phenomenal player. I think he can play anywhere on the pitch. He has such a massive influence, with his instinct and reading of the game. He has a drive about him.

Fast forward seven years, and Jones is now a somewhat comical figure in the game.

United left the defender out of their Premier League squad for the season, while some Red Devils supporters are willing any club to take him on in the coming transfer window.

It has been some fall for Jones. And, according to the Daily Star, his next move could be down to the Championship as both Derby and Middlesbrough eye a potential deal.

The report claims the Rams and Boro are looking to benefit from Burnley’s dropped interest. His £100,000 per week wages at Old Trafford, however, may pose a problem.

Boro are going strong. Neil Warnock’s side are looking capable of a promotion push, and Jones could be an ideal loan signing during the January transfer window.

Tranmere Rovers v Manchester United - FA Cup Fourth Round
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Derby’s interest, meanwhile, seems somewhat left field but you never know.

The Rams have Jones’s former United teammate Wayne Rooney on their books, and perhaps his presence at Pride Park could help the out-of-favour defender with a fresh start.

Also see: ‘All set, no doubt’: Pundit certain of who Derby will appoint to replace Phillip Cocu

Also see: Report: Derby and West Brom could target PL number two as new manager

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