Within the last two hours it has been reported by various media outlets that 19-year-old Blackburn defender Phil Jones is set to join Manchester United.
If the deal is confirmed, then it will be the first bit of business in what is expected to be a busy summer of business for the Red Devils. The deal is believed to be worth around £15-17 million after United met Jones’ release clause.
Liverpool were believed to be favourites for Jones’ signature, although it has been reported that the player chose to join United over both Liverpool and Arsenal, having met Arsene Wenger last night.
The signing is a significant outlay for another young English centre back, but it is a signal of the times, as teams are forced to splash out extravagant money to secure the signature of the best English talent.
Jones has been a regular fixture in Blackburn’s team, who featured 25 times last season at both centre back and defensive midfield, where he impressed in both roles enough to attract the interest of all the top English clubs.
If Jones does join Manchester United, then the he will join Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans at centre back, suggesting that United will move one of the players on.
He is a strong, confident centre back who is excellent in the air and a good tackler. If Smalling is considered similar to Ferdinand, then Jones is more in Vidic’s mold.
He is definitely a player for the future, but having attracted a great deal of praise for his performances against Didier Drogba and Wayne Rooney in the past two seasons, it is possible that Jones could make an impact straight away.
The deal suggests Ferguson is planning for the future with a centre back pairing of Smalling and Jones. At current, both players have enough potential to go on to be top players and could also be paired at the heart of the England defence.
If confirmed, this is a major deal for United, and Sir Alex Ferguson will be delighted to have beaten off their rivals to his signature.