NEWCASTLE United are leading the race ahead of a number of Premier League clubs to sign Manchester United centre-half Phil Jones, according to bookmakers. 

Jones, 29, is expected to leave United in the summer with two years left on his contract at Old Trafford.

The centre-half was widely tipped to be one of England's leading defenders over the course of his career but lack of form and serious injury problems have curtailed his progress over the years. 

The Northern Echo: Phil Jones recently signed a new contract at Manchester United

He's only made eight appearances in two years and the imminent arrivial of Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane could see Jones end his ten year stay with United. 

The bookmakers have rated Newcastle as favourites to land the England international, who has 27 caps to his name, as they look to bring in their first signing of the summer. 

Steve Bruce is understood to be a fan of Jones and looked to sign him during his time in charge of Aston Villa. A move to Newcastle could be the best opportunity for Jones to reignite his career as Newcastle desperately scour the market in search of fresh blood. 

They may well face competition for his signature from ther Premier League clubs in Southampton, West Ham and Brighton, who have recently lost Ben White to a £50 million move to Arsenal. 

The Magpies have also been credited with an interest for fellow Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe, who Bruce actually managed at Villa Park. 

The two clubs are understood to have been in discussions over a possible permanent or loan deal.