Manchester United suffered a humiliating 1-0 defeat at the hands of Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle at St. James’ Park last Sunday, which has caused Jose Mourinho to seriously consider his defensive options ahead of the upcoming summer transfer window.
The humbling loss has left the Red Devils just two points clear of third-placed Liverpool, as they now engage in a downside battle to cement their spot in the top four this campaign.
As a result, the ‘frustrated’ Portuguese tactician is now set to drop the hammer on Chris Smalling and Phil Jones in order to make way for a new centre-back.
According to the report by Mirror, the Special One is ‘planning a serious shake-up of United’s defence this summer — with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones both set to be offloaded’.
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Smalling’s second-half dive resulted in a free-kick which was eventually put in the back of the net by Matt Ritchie and paved the way for Red Devils’ second defeat in three games.
Meanwhile, Jones scored an own goal in the club’s 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley at the start of this month.
It was claimed that Mourinho has told the officials at Old Trafford that ‘they must start spending big on defenders too,’ after United’s rivals, Liverpool and City, forked out £75m and £57m respectively to land Virgil van Dijk and Aymeric Laporte last month.
United have been linked with a massive £50m summer transfer for Leicester City defender Harry Maguire. They are also mooted to make a move for Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane in order to find a top quality defensive partner for their most accomplished defender, who is currently sidelined due to an ankle injury, Eric Bailly.
Sky Sports pundit and former United legend, Phil Neville, labelled the duo a “disaster” at the weekend.
Neville said: “They’ve got the best defensive record because they have the best goalkeeper in the world in David De Gea, and Nemanja Matic out in front who protects them really well. But the last two away games, Smalling and Jones have been a disaster.”