Jones nears United transfer

Manchester United have moved closer to completing the signing of Phil Jones, after reaching an agreement with Blackburn Rovers.English Premier League champions United were expected to announce the move last week, but it was not until Monday they revealed terms had been agreed with Blackburn after discussions between the respective clubs’ lawyers.

The agreed fee is reportedly in the region of 16.5 million pounds, which may rise to as much as 20 million depending on appearances and Jones’ medal haul at Old Trafford.

United have agreed to a five-year deal with the England Under-21 international.

“Manchester United is delighted to announce it has signed an agreement with Blackburn Rovers for the transfer of Phil Jones,” a statement on the club’s website read.

“The player passed a medical in Manchester last week and has agreed to a five-year contract. The deal will be completed once the player returns from international duty.”

Blackburn also wished centre-back Jones, who played for England in their 1-1 draw with Spain at the European Under-21 Championships on Sunday, all the best in his move to Old Trafford.

“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,” a Blackburn statement said.

“We are extremely happy with his contribution to our team and we wish him all the very best in his future endeavours.”

Jones is expected to form a defensive partnership with 21-year-old Chris Smalling when experienced duo Rio Ferdinand, 32, and Nemanja Vidic, 29, move on.

United are also expected to finalise the signing of Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea, who manager Sir Alex Ferguson said last month would be joining from Atletico Madrid.

In addition to the Jones and De Gea, Ferguson is rumoured to be interested in Aston Villa winger Ashley Young.