Exclusive - Manchester United are ready to let Phil Jones leave on a free transfer in order to facilitate a move for him this summer.
The 29-year-old is one of a number of squad players who will be allowed to leave Old Trafford, but he is a player United are particularly eager to find a new club for.
Jones has not played a Premier League game for United since January 2020, and is effectively surplus to requirements. However, he still has two years left on a contract that is worth well in excess of £100,000-a-week - which has proven a real sticking point when the Red Devils have attempted to move him out on loan over the past 12 months.
A number of clubs are keen on Jones, but they are reticent for him to take one of just two loan slots. Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce is a confirmed fan of Jones, and is one of those convinced that the 27-cap England international still has a lot to offer at the top level.
But the Magpies are set to use one loan slot on Arsenal's Joe Willock, and ideally Bruce would like to use his other loan option elsewhere - perhaps on Brandon Williams or Axel Tuanzebe, both of whom are teammates of Jones at United and are players Newcastle like.
If Jones were able to join on a free transfer, that would be preferable for Newcastle and others who are interested - though United may still have to finance some of his wages for a move to come to fruition.
Away from Tyneside, Everton, West Ham and Southampton are all keeping tabs on Jones' situation - as are Brighton, Crystal Palace and Burnley.