Man Utd clinch deal for Phil Jones
Manchester United have confirmed the capture of England Under-21 defender Phil Jones on a five-year deal after agreeing an undisclosed fee with Blackburn Rovers.
United thought they had secured Jones' services last week, only for the transfer to be halted due to an unforeseen snag. It was claimed Blackburn were holding out for more cash and that Liverpool had jumped in with a superior offer.
However, Jones, who featured for England Under-21s in their opening European Championship match against Spain in Denmark, apparently told Rovers he did not wish to join any club but United and the deal is now in place.
''Manchester United is delighted to announce it has signed an agreement with Blackburn Rovers for the transfer of Phil Jones," a United statement read. "The player passed a medical in Manchester last week and has agreed a five-year contract. The deal will be completed once the player returns from international duty."
A Blackburn statement, released on behalf of the owners, board and manager, on the club's official site read: "Much as we would love him to stay on with us - and we made all efforts to convince him to stay - Phil has to finally follow his heart. We are extremely happy with his contribution to our team and we wish him all the very best in his future endeavours."
It appears the breakthrough may have come after United agreed to up their offer as Rovers boss Steve Kean has told Sky Sports News that the deal is higher than the £16.5 million United originally offered.
"Contracts are very complicated but with the games that he will play and with different bits and bobs that will be added on it will go above £20 million, so it's a very, very big fee," Kean said.
Nonetheless, Kean revealed Blackburn had offered to make Jones the highest paid player at the club had he stayed at Ewood Park and is disappointed the player made the decision to move on.
"The offer we made he was staggering for a 19-year-old, but it wasn't the money," Kean said. "Phil wants to play Champions League football now and we're not at that level.
"I'm sure we will be in the coming years, and we gave it a real good try and made him a fantastic offer, but I understand why he wants to go now. He goes with our blessing and it's an opportunity for us to invest in other young players across other areas of the pitch.
"We were hoping he was going to be captain of our club and captain of England. He's a fantastic prospect and I'm sure he'll be an England regular very soon.''
United are also hoping to complete the signing of Spain Under-21 goalkeeper David de Gea, who produced an excellent performance when he featured against Jones in Sunday's game.
However, it is also anticipated Sir Alex Ferguson will land Ashley Young first, once Aston Villa have sorted out their managerial vacancy, and a replacement is also anticipated for Paul Scholes, who confirmed his retirement last month.