KEY POINTS

  • Phil Jones could have more playing time as AC Milan is aiming for a loan move for Eric Bailly
  • Jones made his return to the field after a near two-year absence against Wolverhampton
  • Manchester United needs to address their problems in the midfield and attacking group

Prominent Manchester United center-back Phil Jones could have a much bigger role to play at Old Trafford after rumors suggest that AC Milan is eyeing a loan move for fellow defender Eric Bailly.

Citing a report from Sky Sports Italy, Caught Offside explained AC Milan’s interest in Bailly as they hope their loan offer could have a clause to permanently sign the Ivory Coast center-back.

Jones made his first appearance for the Red Devils last January 3 in their 1-0 loss to the Wolverhampton Wanderers after spending almost two years on the sidelines as he dealt with injuries.

In September 2021, Jones finally returned to the Manchester United training grounds to work his way back into match fitness and he was very open about the struggles that he dealt with.

“I think as a footballer, as a person, as a human being, that's the lowest I probably ever felt in my life. You try and get a balance between football and family life but it was so difficult going home and trying to look after the kids. You're there, but you're not there, you're not present. It's nice to get that balance back,” Jones said as quoted by Sky Sports.

While Bailly has been an important piece for Manchester United this season after stepping up admirably for the injured Raphael Varane and team captain Harry Maguire, his level of play can be described as erratic at best.

When he gets an opportunity to play, Bailly proved himself to be one of the club’s better defenders, sometimes surpassing Maguire in terms of play.

However, there are times when he looks lost on the field and opposing players get the ball past him quite easily, which have led to him playing only seven matches thus far.

As for Jones, his 90-minute return to the pitch against the Wolves was celebrated by fans and observers alike after playing like he had never even been sidelined in the first place.

Moving Bailly does open up playing time for Jones, but it remains to be seen whether interim manager Ralf Rangnick will consider giving up an important piece of his defender group.

Manchester United has more of a problem at the midfield and attacking groups, which Rangnick needs to address quickly as both Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial are dangerously close to leaving on a free transfer.

Eric Bailly
Eric Bailly of Manchester United during the UEFA Champions League group F match between Manchester United and BSC Young Boys at Old Trafford on December 08, 2021 in Manchester, England. Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images
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