Newcastle United's search for a new centre back has taken them to Manchester United duo Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.
With Fabian Schär, Paul Dummett and Ciaran Clark all struggling with injuries, Steve Bruce has been left with just two senior centre backs - Jamaal Lascelles and Federico Fernández - and he even had to resort to using midfielder Isaac Hayden in defence last time out against Tottenham.
Newcastle had hoped to conclude a loan deal for Arsenal's Rob Holding but saw negotiations over the Englishman fall through late on, and now The Telegraph state Smalling and Jones have been discussed as options.
90min learned back in August that Smalling had played his way on to Newcastle's radar, and the Magpies were prepared to pay United's asking price of around £20m. Everton, West Ham United and Fulham had said the same, but Smalling's desire to return to Roma has prevented any deal from happening so far.
Roma are yet to lodge an acceptable bid for Smalling, but it's one of those transfers which is expected to go down to the wire. If things break down, then Newcastle will try and capitalise.
With Roma leading the race for Smalling, Bruce may opt to favour a move for Jones, who is also expected to leave Old Trafford after struggling for minutes under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Jones managed just eight appearances in all competitions last season and is yet to even make a matchday squad in the 2020/21 campaign, with the Red Devils eager to get his high wages off the books this summer.
The issue for Newcastle is that they are not currently able to meet the wage demands of either Smalling or Jones, both of whom are on bumper contracts at Old Trafford.
Bruce's focus has now turned to clearing up some space in his squad. Christian Atsu, Henri Saivet, Achraf Lazaar, Rolando Aarons and DeAndre Yedlin have all been told they are free to leave, but buyers are yet to be found.
Newcastle have been looking to offload Atsu, Saivet, Lazaar and Aarons for over a year but have not found any side willing to meet the quartet's wage demands, meaning there is little optimism that a resolution will be found this summer.
Source : 90min