Just last week it was looking like Sheffield United were leading the race to bring back former player Phil Jagielka. However, now it appears that Cardiff City have jumped into pole position to sign the Everton captain, mainly because the Welsh club are managed by one Neil Warnock, who had a very tumultuous relationship with the central defender at Sheffield.
For those of you who need reminding about said relationship, here’s a very NSFW, profanity-laced leaked video from the Blades’ changing room many years ago with Warnock giving an uh.. inspirational shall we say.. halftime speech to his defence.
Everton selling Jagielka at this point seems contingent on whether Ronald Koeman’s interest in Michael Keane (and/or possibly Chris Smalling) comes to fruition or not. Despite spending freely this summer, the Blues are yet to bolster the backline for a four-pronged campaign next season.
Ashley Williams, for better or worse, was the best central defender the team had while Jagielka and Ramiro Funes Mori rotated in and out all season long. Mason Holgate and Matthew Pennington were the only other recognized center halves in the squad, and neither looked ready to start immediately.
In an interview last week on TalkSport, Jagielka responded to rumours about a forthcoming sale to the Blades with -
“If there was, obviously I wouldn’t be coming on the radio discussing it! That is a nice try.
“I’ve heard the rumours myself, but as of yet there’s nothing in that.”
Dropped from the starting eleven after a series of unconvincing performances, Jagielka ended the season back in the lineup but with no guarantees made of his future.
The 40-time England international will be turning 35 in a couple of months and might need to look elsewhere if he is hoping for some regular minutes as he sees out his professional career with just one year left on his current contract with the Blues.
While there is still a squad depth role for the captain in the team for next season, it is unlikely he will be playing in more than a handful of games here and there for Everton going forward.