By 90Min
February 13, 2018

Manchester United defensive pair Chris Smalling and Phil Jones could well be reaching the end of the road at Old Trafford, with the latest gossip tipping the club to sell one or both centre-backs at the end of the season in what is described as a 'serious shake-up'.

According to a report from the Daily Mirror, United boss Jose Mourinho is keen to land a new centre-back in summer that will see 28-year-old Smalling make way after eight years at the club.

While an exit for Jones, 25, is not seen quite so probable, the newspaper still refers to the younger of the two as being 'under serious threat'.

It is said that having witnessed Liverpool and Manchester spend club record fees on Virgil van Dijk (£75m) and Aymeric Laporte (£57m) last month, Mourinho has made it clear to his Old Trafford bosses that United must also start splashing the cash on defenders.

As such the Mirror names Raphael Varane, a player forever linked with United after spending time working with Mourinho at Real Madrid, and Leicester's Harry Maguire as potential targets. A separate report emerging this week has also linked United with Toby Alderweireld at Tottenham.

Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

The story about possible exits for Smalling and Jones comes just two days after both were poor in United's shock 1-0 loss against relegation threatened Newcastle at the weekend.

Smalling, who has struggled to replicate the form that briefly made him one of the Premier League's best under previous manager Louis van Gaal, gave away the free-kick from which Newcastle scored their only goal after being penalised for a ridiculous dive.

Neither centre-back then commanded the penalty area as the ball was played into the box, allowing Newcastle to win the first header before Matt Ritchie calmly finished in acres of space.

Should both Smalling and Jones leave the club, and someone else arrives, Mourinho would have four centre-backs at his disposal ahead of 2018/19.

Of the existing options, Marcos Rojo is still making his way back to full match fitness after a lengthy layoff, while Eric Bailly could soon be back in action after injury. There is also a belief that United will only start seeing the best of Victor Lindelof in his second season.

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