West Brom are plotting an ambitious bid for Manchester United pair Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.
The Mirror report that the Baggies want to sign two centre-backs this window to provide the squad with depth. Tony Pulis has had previous success when luring players from Old Trafford, with Darren Fletcher and Jonny Evans having success at the Hawthorns.
The two players suffered criticism from Jose Mourinho last season and they may be open to leaving the club, especially after the arrival of Victor Lindelof.
What would they bring to the Hawthorns?
The Baggies are known for their impressive defensive organisation and they are always tough to beat. Although they have a good pool of defenders, they need to bring more numbers after the release of Jonas Olsson earlier this year. In addition to that, Gareth McAuley is approaching the end of his career as he will be 38 in December.
Pulis recognises the need now to add both quality and youth to his defence. If he managed to get either of these United centre-backs, it would be a great deal for the club. If he signs both, West Brom’s defence will be set for a long time.
There are injury concerns regarding both players, but Pulis has a good record of managing his squad well. Smalling would be a better capture as he has shown better form in recent seasons and his mobility will add something different to the Baggies’ squad.
Given the age of McAuley, he would benefit from playing alongside him. Jones has always been a huge talent and he showed signs of his ability last season when he was given chances in the team. A move could be exactly what he needs to revive his career and he is the type of defender that would thrive in a Pulis team.
How likely is it that both are signed?
It would be a huge shock if West Brom signed both of the Manchester United players, as they would each cost upwards of £10 million at the very least considering their status as England internationals. However, it is possible that they manage to bring one of the players to the Hawthorns.
Neither are likely to start the season in the team at Old Trafford and, with the World Cup on the horizon, they will be keen to seek regular first team football. It would benefit their chances if they were playing regularly at the Hawthorns, due to the defensive quality that the team possess.
Smalling would be the better addition in terms of his profile, as West Brom don’t have another player like him in their ranks. However, Jones is the type of player that Pulis has got the best out of time and time again. It could be that the latter is the one favoured by West Brom.
It remains early days where this story is concerned and it could be that this is just paper talk. That said, it makes a lot of sense considering the success that the Baggies have had when making signings from United.
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