According to Manchester Evening News, Manchester United have earmarked reported Derby County and Middlesbrough target Phil Jones for a January move.

The Red Devils are seemingly looking to trim their squad.

Jones hasn’t been included in United’s first-team squad this season following his struggles, and his last appearance for the club came earlier this calendar year.

Many expected the versatile defender to depart Old Trafford in the summer.

Manchester United v Burnley FC - Premier League
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The Daily Star, however, claimed Burnley had second thoughts amid their prospective takeover while Derby and Boro have emerged as suitors from the Championship.

Boro are going strong under Neil Warnock and haven’t lost since the opening day.

The Teesside club may push for extra quality in January to mount a promotion push, and Jones could be the sort of player to thrive under Warnock’s no-nonsense approach.

Derby, meanwhile, have numerous central defenders on their books.

Matt Clarke and Curtis Davies have been regulars, while Andre Wisdom, George Evans, Mike te Wierik, Craig Forsyth and the returning Krystian Bielik are also options.

But much may depend on who becomes Derby’s next manager. If Wayne Rooney gets the role, he may see a place for his former United teammate at Pride Park.

Tranmere Rovers v Manchester United - FA Cup Fourth Round
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Jones certainly needs a fresh start after his decline with the Red Devils.

But the former England international’s £100,000 per week wages may pose as a major stumbling block in any deal Derby or Middlesbrough wish to pursue in January.

Also see: Report: Derby players back idea to appoint former England international as new manager

Also see: Three players out of Derby academy appear on FM21 best wonderkids, including £10m ace

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