According to the Daily Star, Derby County and Middlesbrough are eyeing a deal for Manchester United defender Phil Jones who is tipped for a January move.

The former Blackburn Rovers defender has been omitted from United’s squad this term.

Jones last featured for the Red Devils in January, and he was heavily linked with a move in the summer with Burnley among those chasing his signature.

Manchester United v Burnley FC - Premier League
(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images).

But fresh reports from the Daily Star claim the Clarets may drop their interest.

Burnley are in the midst of a takeover bid, and the Daily Star suggests Burnley may target other players instead leaving Derby and Boro in position to make a move.

Boro, under the guidance of Neil Warnock, have started their Championship campaign in superb form as they sit fifth in the table following an eight-game unbeaten run.

The Teesside club may look at January as an opportunity to really mount a promotion push.

Derby, meanwhile, are at the opposite end of the table but performances have improved of late and the switch to a back three has made the Rams more solid.

Phillip Cocu has plenty of defensive options in Curtis Davies, Matt Clarke, Andre Wisdom, Mike te Wierik, George Evans and Craig Forsyth but Jones would be an improvement.

Manchester City v Manchester United - Carabao Cup: Semi Final
(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images).

The England international, who earns £100,000 per week at Old Trafford, needs a fresh start and former teammate Wayne Rooney would be a familiar face at Pride Park.

Jones, however, will surely feel he can still compete at Premier League level. At 28, he still has time on his side and room to rediscover his top form.

Also see: Prospective new Derby owner reportedly wanted Arsene Wenger for top job

Also see: DCN view: Derby youngster’s stunning form leaves little regret at missing out on Chelsea man

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