Wayne Rooney eyes former Man Utd teammate as his first Derby County signing

Three teams have expressed an interest in taking Manchester United outcast Phil Jones on loan come the January transfer window, including Wayne Rooney’s Derby County.

The Rams, however, will face competition for the 28-year-old from struggling Premier League pair West Brom and Burnley, with the latter only likely to submit a formal offer should they lose in-demand centre-half James Takowski next month.

Jones was excluded from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 25-man Premier League squad and hasn’t made a competitive appearance for United since January’s FA Cup fourth round win over Tranmere.

The former England international earns £120,000-a-week, but United are prepared to subsidise a significant portion of his wages to help facilitate a move.

Speaking about Jones, and a number of his other out of favour fringe players, Soslkajer said last week: ‘Marcos Rojo has just felt a niggle in his calf again. He worked really hard to come back, played for reserves, got a knock, worked hard again and hopefully he’s back in January.

‘Phil should be ready by January and Sergio [Romero] has been training hard as well.’

Sam Allardyce made a disappointing start to his Baggies tenure on Sunday when his new team were condemned to a 3-0 defeat by Aston Villa.

Jones thrived under Allardyce when the pair were together at Blackburn before the injury-plagued defender earned a big-money move to Old Trafford. Allardyce will secure a £2million bonus if he preserves Albion’s top flight status and the club are, according to Eurosport, prepared to offer similar incentives to any potential January recruits.

Derby, meanwhile, are unbeaten in six games since Rooney took sole charge of a side which had been rooted to the bottom of the Championship table.

The Rams remain in the relegation zone but are now just a single point from safety having been cut adrift before the sacking of Phillip Cocu last month.

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